Do you remember the last time that you had a comprehensive eye exam? If not, that means it’s time to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Doctors generally recommend that patients have a comprehensive eye exam at least once every two years, although patients with eye conditions, young children, and adults above the age of 60 may need more frequent exams.
A comprehensive eye exam can be more intense than an average visit to the doctor, however, so it can be a bit daunting and surprising for some patients. Have a look at what you can expect during your next comprehensive eye exam!
Like a typical visit to the doctor, your exam will begin by filling out a medical history and talking to the ophthalmologist about any symptoms that you might be experiencing. The doctor may ask you questions about medications that you take, any previous prescriptions for contact lenses or glasses, your job, your hobbies, and more to learn about the factors that affect your vision.
Next on the agenda are a series of visual acuity tests to determine the sharpness of your vision. Your ophthalmologist may use a Snellen Chart—the instantly-recognizable diagrams with letters of various sizes—and ask you to read the text until you can no longer see it. If you wear glasses or contacts, your doctor may ask you to perform visual acuity tests twice to measure your vision with and without corrective lenses. The ophthalmologist may also conduct a color blind test to see if you have a color vision deficiency.
Beyond testing your vision, your ophthalmologist will also test how well your eyes work together, and the simplest way to do so is through the cover test in which the doctor will “cover” one eye at a time and ask you to focus on an object across the room and then an object nearby. Other exams the ophthalmologist may perform include eye motility tests to see how quickly your eyes can follow a moving object, depth perception tests, and more.
Tests for Diseases
Now it’s time for your ophthalmologist to check for any signs of diseases within your eyes. With a slit-lamp test, the doctor can see structures in your eye ranging from the cornea to the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye to look for diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts, and others. In addition, a “puff of air” test, also known as a non-contact tonometry test, looks for glaucoma by measuring the open eye’s resistance to a small puff of air.
These are only a few examples of the procedures that your ophthalmologist may perform, but they should prepare you for your next comprehensive eye exam!