It is recommended to have an eye exam at least once a year to detect any vision conditions, eye diseases or other problems early on. At an exam, you will be asked to provide a medical history regarding vision and other pertinent health information. If you have prescription glasses or contact lenses, please bring them with to your consultation.
A routine eye exam should last between 20 minutes and 1 hour during which a sequence of tests will be performed. The types of test and the duration will be largely dependent on what the optometrist finds.
Routine testing should include the following:
- Acuity Test
The test for visual acuity involves the Snellen chart that is comprised of a variety of letters in different sizes that you will be asked to read to the optometrist when pointed out. This test is to evaluate vision sharpness using a wall chart for distance and a hand-held card to evaluate near vision. If the letters are blurred and difficult to identify, please inform your doctor.
- Eye Cover Test
This test is designed to determine how well your eyes work jointly to focus on an object. You will be asked to cover one eye and then the other while focusing an object at a distance. The test will then be repeated with an object nearer to you.
- Test For Color Blindness
Few people are aware that they are color blind unless they are tested because there are varying degrees of color blindness. Color blindness may be caused by ocular health problems but are normally due to a genetic predisposition. The test is to determine if the condition can be contributed to a health condition.
- The Refraction Test
This test is to determine whether you are near or farsighted or if you have astigmatism. A machine called phoropter is used to perform the test, and different lenses will be used to focus letters or images. As the lenses are changed, you will be asked which is better.
- The Slit Lamp TestA slit lamp is a microscope that allows the optometrist to examine both the internal and external elements of the eye up close. The test is mainly used to detect any infection or inflammation of the eye that could be a result of an eye disease.
- The Dilated Fundus Test
This is a slightly more specialized test that doesn’t normally form part of a routine eye exam. The test allows the doctor to view the optic nerve and blood vessels at the back of the eye to look for any problems.
Your optometrist may refer you to a specialist, such as an ophthalmologist, for further testing if he deems it necessary. Remember to ask questions regarding any diagnosis or treatment options throughout the eye exam to stay informed.