What Will Happen at My Comprehensive Eye Exam?

Doctor conducting an eye exam

You should get your eyes checked every two years unless your doctor recommends differently. If you haven’t had an eye exam for a while, it may be time. And if you’ve never had a comprehensive eye exam, here’s what you can expect.



. Visual Acuity Test

A visual acuity test which measures the sharpness of your vision. These tests are usually performed with the use of a projected eye chart to measure your distance visual acuity and a handheld chart to measure your near vision.



. Color Blindness Test

This test is simply a screening that checks your color vision to rule out color blindness. In addition to detecting hereditary color vision deficiencies, this test can also tell your eye doctor about any possible eye health problems that could have an impact on your color vision.



. Cover Test

There are many ways for an eye doctor to check how your eyes work together but the cover test is the simplest and the one used most frequently. During this test, your doctor or an ophthalmic assistant will ask you to focus on an object across the room and then will alternate covering each of your eyes while you stare at your target object. This test will be repeated with an object that is nearer to you as well.



. Eye Movements Test

An eye movements test is performed to determine how well your eyes can follow a moving target and/or how quickly they can move between two separate objects. To perform this test, your doctor or an assistant will have you hold your head still and ask you to follow the movements of a light or target just with your eyes. Ruling out problems with eye movements can help pinpoint the cause of eye strain.



. Depth Perception Test

To test your depth perception, an ophthalmologist will have you wear a pair of 3D glasses and look at a pamphlet of test patterns. Each pattern generally has four small circles and your task will be to point out which circle appears closer to you than the other three. If you can accurately identify which circle is closer in each pattern, you likely have excellent eye teaming skills.



. Retinoscopy

This test may be done early on in your comprehensive eye exam if you wear glasses or corrective lenses. During this test, the lights will be dimmed in the room and you will be asked to focus on a large target, usually the big “E” on the eye chart. As you stare at the “E” your ophthalmic assistant or eye doctor will shine a light at your eye and flip lenses at in a machine in front of your eyes. Retinoscopy will estimate which lens powers will best help your distance vision.



. Refraction

This test helps to determine your exact eyeglass prescription. During a refraction, the doctor puts an instrument called a phoropter in front of your eyes and then checks your vision with different lens choices. The doctor will ask you to look through two lenses in each choice to see how you see most clearly. Based upon your answers, your eye doctor will fine tune the lens power until they reach a final decision on your eyeglass prescription.



. Slit Lamp Exam

A slit lamp is a biomicroscope that your eye doctor uses to examine the structures of your eyes under high magnification. During this exam you place your forehead and chin against the rests on the front of the instrument and your ophthalmologist will look at your eyelids, cornea, conjunctiva, iris, and lens. They can even look at the back of your eye including the retina and optic nerve.



. Glaucoma Test

Testing for Glaucoma usually starts with measuring the pressure inside your eyes. To do this, the ophthalmic assistant will puff a small burst of air at your open eye, while you look at a tonometer. Typically, you won’t have warning signs of glaucoma until you already have significant vision loss, which is why this test is so important.



. Pupil Dilation

To get a better view of the eye’s internal structures, your eye doctor will put dilating drops in your eyes to enlarge your pupils. The drops usually take about 20 minutes to work. Once your pupils are dilated, your eyes will be sensitive to light and you may find it hard to focus on objects close up. Your doctor will then use a variety of instrument to look inside your eyes.



. Other Eye Tests

Based off the results of these common tests, your eye doctor may want to perform other more specialized eye tests or recommend you to specialists.


When you go in for your comprehensive eye exam, the first person you will likely see is the ophthalmic assistant. They will guide you through all the tests and examinations along with your eye doctor. If you are interested in learning about what you might do as an ophthalmic assistant, please visit us at Career Quest Learning Centers, to learn more about our program, today!


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