Depending on the individual, there are hundreds of different elements to an eye exam, and a combination of them will be used to comprehensively assess your eyesight, and general health.
The following will give you an idea of what is involved in a typical examination:
- Step 1
When we welcome you to the practice, we’ll ensure that we have your confidential records fully up to date to make sure we’re aware of any potential issues to look out for, or any problems you may have experienced with your eyesight. You’ll also be asked to remove your contact lenses if you wear them.
- Step 2
Using a special instrument called a non-contact tonometer, the optometrist or the dispenser will blow several puffs of air into each eye (don’t worry, this is completely painless!). The instrument uses the air bouncing back off the eye to calculate the eye’s pressure. This measurement is used in testing for early stages of glaucoma.
- Step 3
Another instrument, called an auto refractor or the retinoscope, measures how quickly your eyes can focus, and can give an approximate read-out of your prescription, which the optometrist can use as a guideline.
- Step 4
The approximate reading given by the auto refractor or the retinoscope is fine tuned by placing a selection of lenses in front of your eyes as you read from a sight chart. Each eye is tested individually to ensure the most accurate reading, before finally being tested together.
- Step 5
Using an ophthalmoscope, the optometrist is able to look at the back of your eye (the retina). The view shows the blood vessels and the optic nerve. Irregularities here can indicate the beginnings of diabetes or high blood pressure, making this an invaluable part of the test to your overall health. Whilst this stage of the test, like all the others, is completely painless, the use of bright lights in a darkened room may leave “shadows” in your vision – however these fade after a few moments and will do your vision absolutely no harm.
- Step 6
You may be asked to focus on a light-box showing criss-crossed lines. By asking you to identifying which lines line up, horizontally and vertically, the optometrist can test how well your eyes work as a pair, and whether they are “balanced” and co-ordinated.
- Step 7
Using a powerful illuminated slit-lamp bio-microscope, the optometrist can test the surface of your eyes for abnormalities or scratches. This is an important part of the test for contact lens wearers.
- Step 8
A visual field screener randomly flashes dots of light onto a dark background. Should you have difficulty seeing dots in a particular area, it may indicate a “blind spot” which the optometrist will investigate further.
During your eye examination, the optometrist will do their best to answer all your questions, and will explain each step to you as the test proceeds. If the results indicate that you would benefit from a different prescription, or new glasses, he will explain why and recommend the best options to you. He can then pass his findings and recommendations to a dispenser, who will help you choose the best glasses for your needs.
For more information, or to book your next eye test, call your nearest branch today or email firstname.lastname@example.org.