What Happens During An Eye Exam

What happens in a typical comprehensive eye exam?

Regular eye exams are crucial to maintaining eye health, but did you know your vision isn't the only thing eye doctors test? That's right, a visit to the eye doctor can be beneficial to your overall health, too. We're here to tell you what really goes on during your eye exam and why it's so important to schedule an annual eye exam.

1. Review Your Health History

Before you see an eye doctor to conduct any kind of eye exam, you'll be greeted by an eye care expert. They are there to make the eye exam an easier experience for everyone involved. First, they will verify your insurance benefits and discuss your patient history. This includes general medical history, current medications, past eye care visits, any eye injuries, and corrective lenses or contacts you are currently using. They will also perform various preliminary tests to determine your eyes' overall health. Our eye care experts are patient and more than happy to answer any questions you have in order to make the eye exam a more seamless experience for you.

2. Preliminary Tests

The eye care expert will perform a series of preliminary tests, these may vary from patient to patient based on age and individual needs

  • Color Vision Test: While commonly misconstrued as a color blind test, a color vision test can detect all kinds of color perception issues. These tests can be administered regularly by your eye care expert and may not necessarily be the initial examination.
  • Depth Perception Test: This test assesses the patients ability to perceive and judge distances in a three dimensional space. Typically, it involves tasks like identifying which object appears closer or determining the relative distances between objects.
  • Visual Field Test: All patients will complete a visual field test to measure peripheral vision. The exam involves the patient looking at a fixed point, indicating whether they can see objects or lights within their peripheral vision.
  • Eye Pressure Test: The eye care expert will then measure your eye pressure with a puff of air. Elevated eye pressure can lead to damage to the optic nerve, also known as glaucoma, so this test is sometimes referred to as a glaucoma test.
  • Determining the Shape of Your Eye: Your eye care expert will use an autorefractor to measure the shape and length of your eye. While you look into the machine, at a shape going in and out of focus, the machine predicts a prescription based on mathematical measurement of the shape of your eye. Your exact prescription will be refined later during the exam with the eye doctor.

3. Eye Exam

Now, that your eye care expert has finished your preliminary test, the eye exam begins! Your optometrist will run through further tests to help determine the proper prescription for you.

  • Eye Alignment Test: Also known as the cover test, your eye doctor will assess how well your eyes work together by covering one of your eyes and analyzing their movements separately, which can help look for problems such as lazy eye.
  • Visual Acuity Test: Most people know this assessment as the vision test. Using an eye test chart, you will read letters close-up and at a distance. From this test, the eye doctor will be able to write your vision as a simple fraction, like 20/40.
  • Eye Refraction Test: The eye doctor will show you the impact of degrees of vision correction. Depending on your degree of near-sightedness or far-sightedness, the test will determine the prescription where you see most clearly. The eye doctor will also identify if you have astigmatism, and the degree it affects your vision.
  • Binocular Slit Lamp Examination: As the final test, the eye doctor will analyze the front of your eyes including the lids, lashes, corneas, and lenses. Then they will look at the back of your eyes, observing your optic nerve and retina. Your eye doctor may request optional eye dilation if they need to get a wider view into your eye. Sometimes retinal imaging is available, which can take a picture of the back of the eye without the need for dilated eyes.
  • Exams for Contact Lenses: For patients seeking contact lenses instead of, or including their glasses, the exam requires an extra step. Your eye doctor will use a keratometer to measure your eye and determine the fit of your contact lenses. For first time contact users, they will also show you how to put your contacts in, and take them out, to ensure comfort as you get used to them.

4. Overall Eye Health Assessment

While performing these eye tests, your eye doctor will also look for things impacting your overall health such as:

  • Cataracts, eye infections, and eye allergies

  • Sun damage around the eyelid that could lead to skin cancer

  • Signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol

Your overall health is very important to eye doctors, so make sure to bring up any concerns you have about your health and your vision during your visit.

How Long Does An Eye Exam Take?

While eye exams often average less than 40 minutes, the time may vary depending on varied factors like whether you want contacts and/or glasses, pupil dilation, unique symptoms, or previously diagnosed eye disorders. The length of the exam may also be determined by your family’s medical history or by your age.

What To Expect After An Eye Exam?

If the patient requires glasses, they can explore our wide variety of designer frames to choose from. Our eye care experts are there to give advice on which frames best fit your face shape. It may take upwards of 7-10 business days for your frames and lenses to be ready. Once you come to pick them up, our eye care experts will adjust your glasses for you, ensuring you leave with the perfect pair. They will also answer any questions you may have regarding your glasses, prescription, and more.

Why Should You Schedule At Pearle Vision?

As you can see (pun intended) eye exams not only determine if your eyes are healthy, they can also tell you crucial information about your overall health. Now that you know what to expect during an eye exam, and their importance to your overall health, it’s time to schedule one. Visit your neighborhood Pearle Vision, or PearleVision.com today to schedule an appointment. For those booking for the family, our multi-patient scheduler lets you easily book up to 3 appointments at once.

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