The eyes are among the most sensitive, and most valued, organs in the human body. A regular eye exam is one of the best ways to protect and preserve your vision for many years. It allows for diagnosis of eye disorders and diseases in their early stages, usually making it easier to treat and resolve such issues before they become major problems.
An eye exam consists of more than just reading an eye chart. It may be comprised of several procedures as deemed necessary by your eye care professional. Below are some tests that may be performed on patients during an eye exam. Some are routine diagnostic tests, while others focus on particular areas of the eye and are only performed at the doctor’s discretion, depending upon factors such as age, family history, and symptoms. These test should be performed for healthy individuals, age 3 to 60 every year. For those with vision or health concerns, the test may be performed once every year.
Also known as a vision test, this is the test most commonly associated with a routine eye exam. It tells your doctor if you need prescription lenses and what type of prescription is required. A refraction is also used to detect and diagnose the following conditions:
Astigmatism: this can cause blurry vision and is a refractive problem associated to the shape of the lens.
Hyperopia: commonly known as farsightedness, which is when you have trouble seeing objects that are close to you
Myopia: commonly known as nearsightedness, which is when you can clearly see close up objects, but have trouble seeing far away objects or reading at a distance.
Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that can be best treated with early detection. A tonometry procedure, which is conducted in our stores, will help determine if you may be at risk for glaucoma. During this exam, the doctor uses an air puff mechanism to assess pressure levels within your eyes. To evaluate the eyes for glaucoma and in order to obtain the best view of the optic nerve, the doctor may need to dilate the pupils. This is accomplished by simply adding a specific medicated drop to each eye.
Glaucoma tests are typically pain-free, although minor discomfort may be experienced from the dilation of the pupils. For glaucoma tests that involve contact with the eye, the doctor will administer eye drops that numb the eyes to provide maximum comfort.
This simple test is commonly performed on children in order to detect the presence of ocular deviation, also known as “lazy eye.” The patient focuses his or her vision on an object, and one or both eyes are then covered and then uncovered. During this procedure, the doctor observes the reaction of the eyes and watches for eye movement. A “lazy eye” will move inward or outward. The test causes no discomfort and is pain-free.
This part of an eye exam allows the doctor to evaluate the health of the anterior part of the eye. To evaluate the anterior part of the eye, the doctor may use special fluorescent drops which are applied to the eyes to make it easier to see certain abnormalities. The eye drops occasionally produce mild discomfort, such as a slight stinging sensation when first applied, but this is usually very short in duration. The doctor will also use specialized condensing lenses in combination with the slit lamp to evaluate the health of the retina (including the macula) as well as the optic nerve.
A common part of a routine eye exam, the visual field test enables your doctor to determine how well you can see objects in your side vision (peripheral vision).
This test can determine if you’re having any issues seeing in certain areas of your visual field and detect early problems such as tunnel vision.
This procedure is not always necessary, but is sometimes used on small children or persons with disabilities who have problems with communication. The doctor uses a special instrument called a retinoscope to shine a light into the patient’s eye, enabling the doctor to observe the reaction of the retina. It allows the doctor to assess the patient’s need for corrective lenses without relying upon feedback from the patient. The test is simple and pain-free for the patient.