Routine Eye Exam

What to expect during your Routine Eye Exam

routine_eye_examOphthalmologists use a wide variety of tests and procedures to examine your eyes. When you come in for your routine eye exam, you should expect to be in the office for an hour or more, depending on the number and complexity of the tests required to fully evaluate your vision and the health of your eyes.

Listed below are a few of the tests that you might have performed along with a brief description.

Visual Acuity Tests– There are tests to determine the sharpness of your vision. This is performed using a projected eye chart to measure your distance visual acuity and a small hand held acuity chart to measure your near vision. Each eye will be tested independently of the other and on occasion, both eyes will be tested together.

Cover Test– While there are many ways to check how your eyes work together, the cover test is the simplest and most common. During a cover test the physician or staff member will ask you to focus on a small object across the room and will then cover each of your eyes alternately while you continue to focus on the target.

Ocular Motility (Eye Movements) Testing– Ocular motility testing is performed to determine how well your eyes can follow a moving target and the range of movement of your eyes. This is performed by having you follow the slow movement of a hand –held light or other target with just your eyes while the technician observes and documents these movements.

Auto Refraction – A computerized machine is used to automatically estimate your eye glasses prescription. A chin rest stabilizes your head while you look into an instrument where you will focus on an image. The autorefractor will take a series of measurements and give the staff member a read out that will help them determine where to begin with your refraction.

Retinoscopy– We will perform this test early in the eye exam, if necessary, to obtain an approximation of your eye glasses prescription. With this test the room lights will be dimmed. You will be ask to fixate on an object while the tester shines a light in your eye and flips lenses in a machine in front of your eyes. This test estimates which lens powers will best correct your distance vision based on the way the light reflects from your eye.

This test is especially useful for children and patients who are unable to accurately answer questions.

Refraction– This is the test that is used to determine your exact eye glass prescription. During a refraction you will have an instrument called a phoropter placed in front of your eyes and you will be shown a series of lens choices. You will then be asked which of the two lenses looks clearer. Based on your answers we will continue to fine tune the lens power until we reach a final eye glass prescription.

Slit Lamp Exam– A slit lamp is a binocular microscope that your eye doctor uses to examine the structures of your eye under high magnification. It looks somewhat like a large upright microscope. During the slit lamp exam, you will be asked to place your forehead and chin securely against the rests on the front of the instrument. The doctor will begin examining the structures of your eyes including eyelids, cornea, conjuctivia, iris, lens and anterior segment of the eye.

With the help of a hand-held lens you can also use the slit lamp to examine structures located farther back in the eye such as the retina and optic nerve.

Glaucoma Screening– Testing for glaucoma is typically done by measuring the pressure inside your eyes. A common glaucoma test is performed with an instrument called an applanation tonometer.  This instrument is mounted on the slit lamp. For the test you will be given yellow eye drops to numb the eye. The yellow dye glows under the blue light. You will be asked to look straight ahead into the silt lamp while the technician gently touches the surface of your eye with the tonometer to measure your pressure. You typically have no warning signs of glaucoma until you already have significant damage. For this reason, routine eye exams include tonometry testing.

Visual Field Testing– In the routine exam a gross test of your peripheral vision will be performed by asking you to fixate on a target while moving an object inward and you will be asked to notify the technician when the object is first visible to you. Any noted changes outside the normal visual field parameters will be noted for the physician to review.

Pupil Dilation– To obtain a better view of the eye’s internal structures, you will be given dilating drops to enlarge your pupils. Dilating drops usually take about 15-20 minutes to start working.  When your pupils are dilated, you will be sensitive to light (because more light is getting into the eyes) and you may notice difficulty focusing on objects up close. The effects can last for several hours.  Once the drops have taken effect, your eye doctor will use various instruments to examine your retina.

At the completion of your exam the physician will go over any findings and answer any questions that you might have regarding your diagnosis.  Routine Eye Exams take place when you come in for an eye exam without any medical eye problems, and there are no symptoms except for visual changes that can be corrected by eye glasses or contact lenses.

**If during your exam any medical problems are found THEN you must discuss with your physician if you would like to proceed or if you would like to come back for another visit to have the medical issues addressed. Based on the urgency of your condition your physician should be able to help direct you to the best possible option.

Shelby Location
1170 Wyke Road
Shelby, NC 28150

Monday - Thursday 8:15 am - 5:00 pm
Friday 8:15 am - Noon