It is important that you plan on having an eye exam at least once every year. This is so we can check your vision, make sure no issues are present, and update your prescription for glasses or contacts, if necessary. If you haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while, here is a glimpse of what to expect from your exam.
Before Your Visit
When making your appointment, be sure to mention any problems or concerns you have with your vision. Write out a list of questions you have for the doctor. How many times have you gone to an appointment and forgotten what you wanted to ask? This will allow you to go into the visit with confidence and get all your questions answered.
Know your family’s eye health history as well as your own, and update your doctor on any medications you are taking.
Don’t forget to bring along your glasses and contact lenses. Bring sunglasses with you for the ride home, as many exams involve pupil dilation which can cause sensitivity to light. You may even want to bring someone with you to drive you home just to be safe.
During the Visit
Plan for about a half hour to an hour visit. During this time, you will be asked about your medical and vision history. Here are some of the tests you may be asked to participate in:
• Eye muscle movement test: This will check the alignment of your eyes as the doctor observes how well you can follow a target.
• Cover test: This will determine how well your eyes work together. As you stare at a target some distance away, the doctor will cover and uncover each eye to see how much your eyes move. Your doctor is on the lookout for one eye that turns away from the target, a condition called strabismus.
• Pupil reactions: The doctor will observe how your pupils react to light, checking the position of your eye lids as well as the whites of your eyes.
• Visual acuity test: This is the part of the exam everyone remembers. You’ll sit in front of an eye chart on the wall and you’ll be asked to read the smallest line of letters you can. You’ll cover one eye, then the another.
• Refraction testing: Your doctor will use a computerized refractor to test your prescription, flipping the phoropter back and forth between lenses. You’ll be asked to report which one is clearer until the right combination is found.
• Slit lamp: Also called a biomicroscope, this device magnifies and lights up the front of the eye so your doctor can inspect the cornea, iris, lens, and the back of your eye.
• Retinal examination: Also known as ophthalmoscopy, your pupils will be dilated so the doctor can use an ophthalmoscope to see the retina, blood vessels, vitreous fluid, macula, and the top of your optic nerve.
• Pupil dilation: With your pupils fully enlarged, the doctor can better check the insides of your eyes. Eye drops will be inserted, then you’ll have to wait about 15 minutes for them to work. As a result, they’ll make your eyes much more sensitive to light and you may even get blurry vision.
• Visual field test: Also known as perimetry, the doctor will test your visual field to map what you see at the edges of your visual field.
• Glaucoma testing: These are tests that ensure the fluid pressure in your eyes is normal.
It’s important to note that not everyone gets all of these tests at every eye exam. You may get a few or several, or you may get them all. It depends on your age, vision problems, concerns, and on the individual doctor. To learn what will be included in your eye exam, call Simon Eye Associates today at (302) 239-1933 or complete our convenient online form. We offer annual eye exams to families in Wilmington, Newark, Middletown, and nearby DE areas.