What is an eye exam?
An eye, or vision, the examination is a series of tests carried out to evaluate the vision and check for eye diseases. For a comprehensive diagnosis, a variety of instruments are used, bright lights are shone directly at the eyes and patients may also be requested to look through an array of lenses. Each of the tests carried out during an eye exam evaluates different aspects of vision or eye health.
What’s the essence of an eye test?
An eye exam helps to detect eye problems in their earliest stage when they’re most treatable. Regular eye examinations give the opportunity to correct, or adapt to, vision changes and help the eye care professionals provide timely tips on caring for the eyes.
Preparation for an eye test
- If you wear contact lenses or eyeglasses, take them with you for your appointment.
- Other precautions
- If you have dilated eyes as a part of your eye exam, it is advisable you go with sunglasses to wear after your eye exam is complete, because daylight or other bright shining lights may be discomforting or cause blurry vision.
- Consider having someone drive you home after the examination.
Eye examination procedure
An eye examination procedure is a step-by-step approach. These include;
- Review of medical history and any vision problems you might be experiencing.
- Your visual acuity is measured to know if you need glasses or contact lenses to help improve your vision.
- A numbing drop is placed in the eyes.
- The eye pressure is measured. The eyes may be dilated with eye drops to make it easy to examine the inside of the eyes.
- After the dilating drops take effect, the health of the eyes is checked, possibly using a number of lights to evaluate the front of the eye and the inside of each eye.
- Different numerous tests may be performed during the eye exam. These tests are designed to check the integrity of the vision and to examine the appearance and function of all parts of the eyes.
The aftermath of an eye exam
After completion of a visual examination, the doctor discusses his findings and the results of all tests carried out, as well as an assessment of your vision, the risk of eye disease, and preventive measures that can be taken to protect your eyesight.
Eye exam results
Usual eye exam results from an eye exam include:
- 20/20 vision.
- Good peripheral vision.
- Ability to distinguish several colors.
- Normal appearing structures of the external eye.
- Absence of cataract, glaucoma, or retinal disorders; for instance, macular degeneration
- Your doctor may give you a prescription.
If the eye exam results are abnormal, corrective lenses may be prescribed. The doctor will also discuss with you the next steps for further testing or for treatment of an underlying condition.
When should a vision examination be done?
There are several factors that determine how frequently a vision examination may be needed; for instance, age, health, and the risk of developing eye problems. Therefore, it is advisable you discuss with your doctor to determine when and how often you have an eye exam.
What are the different types of eye exams?
- Eye muscle test: To evaluate the muscles that control eye movement.
- Visual acuity test: To measure the clarity of sight.
- Refraction assessment: To check for refractive error.
- Colour vision testing: Vision examination to screen for color deficiency.
- Tonometry screening for glaucoma: Tonometry measures intraocular pressure (that is, the fluid pressure inside the eye). This test helps to detect glaucoma, a disease that damages the optic nerve. This can be carried out with several methods:
- Applanation tonometry – This measures the amount of force required to temporarily flatten a part of the cornea.
- Noncontact tonometry – This uses a puff of air to estimate the pressure in the eye.
However, depending on age, medical history and the risk of developing eye disease, more specialized tests may be required,
Conditions diagnosed during eye examinations
Some of the conditions that may be diagnosed during an eye exam include;
Who should I visit for my eye exam?
Three different types of eye specialists exist. Choosing a particular specialist may be a matter of personal preference, or based on the nature of your eye problem.
- Ophthalmologists: These are specialist doctors who provide full eye care; for instance, a complete eye exam, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing and treating complex eye diseases, and performing eye surgery.