What Does A Comprehensive Eye Exam Include
If it has been several years since your last exam, you may wonder what is involved in getting a comprehensive eye exam. While tests will vary based on your doctor and your medical history, most comprehensive eye exams include the following:
- Visual Acuity to assess the sharpness of your vision, usually using the Big E or Snellen chart.
- Visual fields test to determine if you have blind spots or peripheral vision issues.
- Cover Test, which can identify strabismus or binocular vision problems.
- Retinoscopy, autorefractor or aberrometer to approximate your eyeglass prescription.
- Refraction to fine tune the final eyeglass prescription using a phoropter.
- Slit Lamp exam to detect common eye diseases and conditions. This instrument allows your doctor to examine the structure of your eye to assess its health.
- Glaucoma test, known as tonometry, measures the pressure within your eye.
- Dilation of the pupil and ophthalmoscopy to examine the optic nerve, retina and blood vessels.
Do I Need An Appointment For An Eye Exam Or Can I Just Walk In
Ordinarily, it may be possible to walk into an eye doctor to see if any appointments for an eye test are available. However, in the current climate nearly all practices are operating an appointment-only basis to ensure that they can meet the guidelines surrounding COVID-safety. As a result, we strongly recommend that you call and schedule your eye exam in advance.
Patients At Risk Include Those:
- A personal or family history of ocular disease.
- Belonging to certain racial and ethnic groups.
- Systemic health conditions with potential ocular manifestations.
- Occupations that are highly demanding visually or have a high potential of being hazardous to the eyes.
- Taking prescription or nonprescription drugs with ocular side effects.
- Functional vision in only one eye.
- Wearing contact lenses.
- Eye surgery or previous eye injury.
- High or progressive refractive error.
- Other eye-related health concerns or conditions. Patients who have undergone refractive surgery should still have an eye exam every 1-2 years for monitoring of overall ocular health.
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Vision Tests Vs Eye Exams: Key Differences
One of the most significant differences between vision tests and eye exams is the type of person who runs each one. Eye exams must be performed by a qualified eye doctor, such as an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Conversely, vision tests can be run by practically anybody since they rely on automated equipment.
What Happens During An Eye Exam A Step
If youve never had a comprehensive eye exam before, or if it has been a few years since your last one, you may be unsure about what to expect during your check-up.
Dont worry your curiosity is not misplaced! After all, when it comes to a comprehensive eye exam, there are a lot of moving parts.
A number of tests and procedures are used to determine your eye health. They range from simple things, like reading an eye chart to measure your visual acuity, to more complex assessments, like using a biomicroscope to examine the structures of your eye under high magnification.
To give you an idea of what you could expect, heres a step-by-step guide to what youre likely to encounter during a comprehensive eye exam.
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What Happens During An Eye Exam
At the beginning of an eye exam, your eye doctor will ask for your medical history and if you have been experiencing any vision problems. If you currently have glasses or contacts, be sure to bring them to the exam so your eye doctor can see if you need prescription changes.
During the eye exam, your eye doctor can perform a number of different tests such as a glaucoma test , a visual acuity test, and a refraction test.
Based on the results of these tests, your doctor can determine if you need any follow-up vision tests or if you need to get glasses or contact lenses. If you have glasses or contact lenses, you may need to change the strength of your prescription. These tests help evaluate your overall eye health.
Eye Testing For Older Children
A comprehensive exam for an older child is similar to that of a younger child, but includes additional tests of specific visual skills that are essential for reading, learning, and even sports performance.
The following skills should be tested during an eye exam:
- Visual acuity: the ability to see clearly at three distances:
- Near- for reading a book
- Intermediate- for computer use
- Far- for seeing the board in class
These tests for visual skills are an integral part of a comprehensive eye exam.
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How Should I Prepare And What Should I Bring
Similar to any other doctor visit, you should be prepared to answer questions about your medical history, and come with a list of any medications or supplements youre currently taking. Its also a good idea to come with questions youd like to ask your eye doctor.
Your eye doctor will ask you questions about your vision history and want to hear about any problems. He or she will also be interested in knowing if you have a family history of eye problems and other disorders or diseases that affect eye health, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
When Should I Know The Results Of The Eye Exam
Most of the time, your provider will give you results from your eye exam right away. If you need glasses or contacts, youll leave the appointment with a prescription. Youll also have information about your vision, eye structure and eye health. Sometimes your provider may recommend a follow-up appointment or additional tests.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Eye exams not only help you see better, they also detect eye problems that can cause vision loss. Many of these problems dont have any outward signs or symptoms, so the only way to catch them is through an exam. Ask your provider how often you should get an eye exam. When you see your eye doctor, be sure to share information about your familys eye health history. Regular eye exams are an essential part of maintaining good overall health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/30/2020.
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Will I Have To Get My Eyes Dilated
Pupil dilation is a common part of most comprehensive eye exams. Its important as it enables your eye doctor to look through your eyes and see the structures inside and at the back of them. Eye dilation doesnt hurt as special drops are used, but your eyes will be extra sensitive to light until the effects have worn off. Your vision may also be a little blurred for a few hours, although you should still be able to drive yourself home.
You Have A High Risk For Eye Diseases
Maybe you have diabetes, or perhaps your sister has glaucoma. A personal or familial history of eye disease warrants having your eyes examined more often. Certain racial or ethnic backgrounds can also predispose you to eye disease. If youâre African American or Latinx, you may want to see an eye doctor more often.
Wearing contact lenses is another reason to get your eyes examined more often. Previous eye surgery or injury may require more frequent monitoring, as does taking certain medications.
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Do Dilating Drops Hurt
Your eye doctor will gently place one or two eye drops into your childs lower eyelid. Following insertion, your child will feel mild stinging or burning. Dont be alarmed this sensation only lasts a few seconds!
The eye drops will cause blurry near vision and light sensitivity for as long as they are effective. The dilating drops take approximately 20 40 minutes to work, and the effects gradually decrease over the course of a few hours. It is recommended to bring sunglasses to your appointment to ease any discomfort after the exam.
It is rare to have an allergic reaction to the dilating eye drops, but it is important to be aware of the symptoms of an allergic reaction .
How The Test Is Performed
First, you will be asked if you are having any eye or vision problems. You will be asked to describe these problems, how long you have had them, and any factors that have made them better or worse.
Your history of glasses or contact lenses will also be reviewed. The eye doctor will then ask about your overall health, including any medicines you take and your family’s medical history.
Next, the doctor will check your vision using a Snellen chart.
- You will be asked to read random letters that become smaller line by line as your eyes move down the chart. Some Snellen charts are actually video monitors showing letters or images.
- To see if you need glasses, the doctor will place several lenses in front of your eye, one at a time, and ask you when the letters on the Snellen chart become easier to see. This is called a refraction.
Other parts of the exam include tests to:
- See if you have proper three-dimensional vision .
- Check your side vision.
- Check the eye muscles by asking you to look in different directions at a penlight or other small object.
- Examine the pupils with a penlight to see if they respond properly to light.
- Often, you’ll be given eye drops to open up your pupils. This allows the doctor to use a device called an ophthalmoscope to view the structures at the back of the eye. This area is called the fundus. It includes the retina and nearby blood vessels and optic nerve.
Another magnifying device, called a slit lamp, is used to:
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Eye Exams: What To Expect At Your Next Eye Appointment
Typically, we dont like to have people or objects get too close to our precious, fragile eyes. But theres one person for whom you should always make an exception: your eye doctor.
As a medical professional, your is qualified to inspect your eyes and prescribe important treatments for your eye health and vision. You should see them at the first sign of eye trouble, as well as for regular maintenance visits.
Nervous? Thats perfectly understandableall those scopes and tools can look a bit scary. We wrote this article to demystify the whole process for you, so you know exactly what to expect at an eye exam.
Theres No Replacement For Eye Exams
Vision testing can give you a general idea of your prescription, but it cant tell you why it has changed. Only an optometrist or ophthalmologist can diagnose you with a condition and prescribe the tools you may need to treat or manage it. Remember to book annual eye exams with a qualified eye doctor so that you can keep yourself healthy while keeping your vision sharp.
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What Do Diabetic Eye Exams Check For
Diabetic eye exams focus on any possible eye health problems that can be caused by diabetes, including:
Diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness among American adults, occurs when blood vessels inside the eye start to leak. Left untreated, the leakages worsen over time and lead to varying levels of blindness. Early detection and treatment can often save part or all of your eyesight.
Diabetic macular edema is a swelling of the macula, located in the back of the eye. Its responsible for central vision and seeing color. When a patient with diabetic retinopathy experiences blurry vision, DME is often the cause.
Your Comprehensive Eye Exam
Your eyes are one of the most complex organs in your body. A comprehensive eye exam to assess your visual system and eye health involves a number of different of tests. Unlike a simple vision screening, which only assesses your vision, a comprehensive eye exam includes a battery of tests in order to do a complete evaluation of the health of your eyes and your vision.
The tests that you will undergo in a comprehensive eye examination may vary from eye doctor to eye doctor but here are are some common exams that you may encounter:
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Check For Glasses During Eye Exam
At some point during the eye exam they will check to see if glasses would help the vision. The Eye Doctor will make sure that the glasses work good for both off in the distance and up close. The Eye Doctor will also make sure they dont need to add anything special to the glasses to help with the eyes working together. The glasses portion is all about physics and wont make the vision better or worse they will just clear up the vision.
What Will Happen At The Exam
Your eye doctor will run a variety of tests to ensure that your complete visual system, from brain to eyeball, is functioning as it should. He or she will also look for the early stages of eye diseases, which, when caught early, are often treatable.
After your conversation about medical and family history with the eye doctor or a technician, the exam experience typically includes some or all of these tests:
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How Often Should I Get My Eyes Checked
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends adults get their eyes checked at least every 2 years, but many factors can require more frequent eye exams.
Our best practice at Eye Wellness is to have our patients come to see us every year. This baseline allows us to keep tabs on any eye diseases or health issues you may live with, or catch them before they cause damage.
I Have Good Vision Do I Still Need An Eye Exam
Even though you have good vision, you should still have your eyes checked once every one to two years. During an eye exam your eye doctor is not just checking how well you see, but your risk for eye diseases, like glaucoma and cataracts. If you have medical conditions of any kind, these could also impact your vision and eye health making a routine eye exam an important part of your health and wellness.
Getting routine eye exams can help maintain your eye health. Be sure to talk to your eye doctor if you currently have glasses or contact lenses or are experiencing any vision problems.
A family history of eye problems and certain health conditions may lead to more frequent visits, but its important to be checked regularly even if you arent at risk.
Before making any visit to the eye doctor, review the details of your vision plan so you know whats covered. Depending on your health insurance, a routine eye exam may be covered.
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Getting Your Eye Exam Results
Once your eye exam is over, your doctor should be ready to discuss the preliminary results with you. Feel free to ask any questions that come to mind at this stage, whether theyre about your eyes specifically or general eye health.
Definitely ask when your optometrist recommends that you come back for your next appointment, especially if they found signs of an eye condition that should be monitored.
This is also the point at which youll get your eye prescription! It will spell out all the specifications for your corrective lenses, should you need them. Youre legally entitled to a copy of your prescription, and its good to have on hand for later eyewear purchases.
Eye Focusing Eye Teaming And Eye Movement Testing
To see a clear, single image, the eyes must effectively change focus, move and work in unison. An assessment of accommodation, ocular motility, and binocular vision determines how well your eyes focus, move and work together. This testing will look for problems that keep eyes from focusing effectively or make using both eyes together difficult.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Myopia:
- Squinting when reading the board or watching TV
- Sitting at close proximity to the TV or computer screen
- Sitting at the front of the classroom to clearly see the teacher and board
- Holding books close to the eyes
- Disinterest in playing sports that require distance vision
Myopia is typically corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. If your child has a refractive error, your eye doctor will prescribe an optical prescription noted with a minus sign, such as -1.00 or -2.50, for corrective eyeglasses.
Why Do You Need To Get An Eye Exam
When was the last time you had an eye exam? Chances are, you are overdue for your next eye test. You may not realize this, but eye exams are also about a lot more than just your vision. Itâs important to make sure that you and your family are getting eye exams at the recommended frequencies, and in this post weâll explain why.
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