Over 64% of adult Americans wear eyeglasses, which is about 159.2 million people. With such high numbers, there’s a good chance that you and your loved ones need vision correction.
Not only is an eye exam important for getting the most accurate and up-to-date prescription, but it’s also vital in detecting any health issues you may have.
If you feel like you have issues with your eyesight, then you need to book an appointment with an optometrist. While the exam will differ based on your age, health, and eyesight, here’s what to generally expect at a comprehensive eye exam.
To prepare for your eye exam, you’ll need to bring a few things. If you already wear glasses, bring those, as well as contact lenses if you have them. You’ll also want to bring sunglasses in case your eyes are dilated for any tests.
Another important thing to bring is your family history. You don’t necessarily have to bring any documents; giving your optometrist a verbal history is fine. You’ll also need to inform them of all the medications you’re on.
Like we said above, the tests your eye doctor performs on you depends on your age, health, and the state of your eyesight. For example, those with high myopia will need additional tests to make sure their retina hasn’t become detached.
Below are some general tests that you may have to go through at your eye exam.
Before you see your eye doctor, you may be given a refraction test. You’ll sit with your head cradled in front of a machine. You may be asked to focus on a picture with either a farmhouse or a hot air balloon in the distance.
This is a test that’ll give your eye doctor a baseline to start with for your prescription before they see you for the comprehensive eye exam.
The eye puff test (or non-contact tonometer) is performed to see if you’re at risk for glaucoma. You’ll put your head into another cradle, and either the optometrist or their assistant will carry out the eye puff test.
They will shine a light into your eye, then a small burst of air will come from the machine. While it can be a small surprise each time a puff is done, the test isn’t painful.
This is a quick test where the optometrist will have you follow his finger or pen with your eyes. This lets them check if your eyes are aligned correctly.
You’ll put your head into another machine that cradles it. Your eye doctor will ask you to look in various directions and examine your eyes with the slit lamp. This test will enable them to examine various structures in the back of your eye, like your optic nerve and retina.
This test is highly beneficial since your eye doctor can detect early signs of other health problems. If they see diabetic retinopathy, they can refer you to an internal medicine physician for further exams and treatment.
This is one that everyone knows about: it’s where you read an eye chart that has letters that progressively get smaller. You’ll be asked to read certain lines of it with both eyes. Then, the optometrist will have you cover one eye and read some lines, then cover the other and do the same thing.
This isn’t a standard test given to every patient, but your eye doctor might want to perform it if they suspect you have any blind spots in your field of vision. There are 3 possible tests they can use to see how good your peripheral vision is.
Through these tests, your optometrist can get confirmation if they think you have a certain eye disease or disorder.
For some of the above tests, your optometrist may need to dilate your pupils. However, some modern technology eliminates the need for dilation, which means you may not have to go through this.
If you do, you might have trouble focusing on things nearby for a little bit. Your eyes will also be more sensitive to light, which is why you should bring a pair of sunglasses.
Since your eyes can potentially stay in this state for a few hours, you’ll want to arrange for someone to drive you home.
If you want to get contact lenses, or need an updated prescription from your last one, the optometrist can fit you for them at the same appointment. However, if you’ve had dilation done during your comprehensive eye exam, you’ll have to come in again when your eyes are normal.
Do note that if you want to wear contact lenses, you must have an exam and fitting. This is because eyeglass and eyeglass prescriptions are different. Plus, the eye doctor has to ensure your contact lenses are a perfect fit for your eyes.
A comprehensive eye exam should be something you regularly get. Having up-to-date prescriptions can prevent you from squinting and developing headaches whenever you need to read. In addition, it’s great for preventative care, as the exams can catch early warning signs of conditions such as diabetes.
So don’t put off a trip to the optometrist just because you think your eyes are fine. Be proactive about your health and book those appointments at the intervals your eye doctor has suggested. This will be anywhere from 1 year to every 5 years.
If you feel you need to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, then get in touch with us now.