What to Expect From Your First Eye Exam - Art of Optiks
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man getting his eyes examined

What to Expect From Your First Eye Exam

Regular eye exams are essential to your overall health. Not only do they allow your eye doctor to detect any eye conditions, diseases, or prescription needs early on, but they also provide a window into your systemic health. Here at Art of Optiks, we offer a truly luxury eyecare experience that we guarantee you won’t be able to find anywhere else. The needs of our customers and patients are our top priority, meaning our doctors will take the time to get to know you and your unique situation to ensure you receive the best possible care fitting for your needs. A comprehensive eye exam includes a review of your medical history and a series of eye tests to determine the current health of your eyes.

Medical History

Upon arriving at your comprehensive eye exam appointment, you will be asked for your medical history either through paper, electronic questionnaire, or verbally. The questionnaire allows your eye doctor to become aware of past or present medical conditions and review your family’s medical history. It’s encouraged for patients to prepare for their appointment and check your family’s medical history before going. Being knowledgeable of what conditions are in your family will help your doctor identify what you’re at risk for and any diseases, both vision and non-vision related, that may affect your eyesight. You will also be asked to provide your past eye health and care history, making it essential that you obtain records from previous doctors before your appointment.

Eye Tests

After completing your medical history paperwork, it’s time to be taken to the exam room. A comprehensive eye exam will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how in-depth your eye doctor chooses to go. Many different tests will take place throughout your exam that allows your doctor to assess your eyes’ overall health, detect any injuries or diseases, and determine whether a prescription is needed to improve your vision.

Visual Acuity

You will be asked to read a projected eye chart to measure the sharpness of your vision. Letters ranging in size will appear on this chart with large at the top and very small at the bottom. The ability to read letters on a specific line gives your eye doctor a preliminary idea of what prescription you might need to improve your vision. The visual acuity test measures the sharpness of your vision at a distance and up close.

Color Blindness

During your comprehensive exam, your doctor will conduct a screening test that checks your color vision. This test identifies any level of color blindness. Often, color vision deficiencies are hereditary, but color blindness can also be a sign of potential eye problems that may not be diagnosed. It’s essential for your doctor to catch color blindness and any other eye problems early on so proper care can be provided.

Eye Alignment

Your doctor will conduct numerous tests to check how well your eyes work together, one of them being the cover test. During this test, you will be asked to follow a small object across the room as each eye is covered simultaneously. The eye alignment test will be completed at both near and far distances. Your doctor is assessing whether your uncovered eye moves to follow the object. If the uncovered eye does move, it can indicate strabismus, eye strain, or amblyopia.

Eye Movement

Ocular motility or eye movement testing is conducted to determine how well your eyes follow a moving object, whether moving in between or fixating on two separate targets. Smooth eye movements or pursuits are more common, which is when you will be asked to keep your head still and follow the slow movement of a hand-held light or another object with only your eyes. Quick eye movements or saccades are tested by moving your eyes back and forth between two objects. If you have eye movement issues, you’ve likely experienced eye strain and reading or sports being affected.

Depth Perception

Your eye teaming will also be evaluated in your comprehensive eye exam. Commonly called stereopsis, your depth perception and ability to see 3D objects are tested during this portion of your exam. In one of the most popular tests, your doctor will have you wear a pair of 3D glasses to view test patterns in a booklet. You will be asked to identify the circle in each design that appears to be closer to you. If you can locate the closer circle, your eye teaming skills are remarkable, meaning you can experience normal depth perception.

Retinoscopy

This test is utilized to get a better idea of your glasses or contacts prescription and is usually performed early in your appointment. During the retinoscopy portion of your eye exam, your doctor will ask you to focus on a large target with the lights dimmed. As you concentrate, your doctor will shine a light and flip lenses in front of your eyes. The retinoscopy test estimates which prescription lens will correct your distance vision. Many doctors utilize retinoscopy for children and patients who can’t answer questions.

Refraction

If your eye doctor discovers that you may benefit from vision correction during your visual acuity test, he or she will have you look at letters through refractive lenses. Refractive lenses are very similar to lenses in glasses meaning your doctor can quickly check a variety of prescription levels to determine which is best for your eyes. The refraction test will detect farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.

Autorefractors + Aberrometers

Specific machines, such as an autorefractor or aberrometer, are utilized to estimate your glasses or contacts prescription. Your chin will rest on a padded surface to stabilize your head while focusing on a dot of light or a detailed image. These machines determine what prescription level is required to accurately focus light on your retina. Both the autorefractor and aberrometer provide your doctor with test results within seconds, thus making either option extremely useful.

Slit Lamp

Your eye doctor will utilize a slit lamp or binocular microscope to examine the various structures of your eye under high magnification. Your chin and forehead will rest on padded surfaces while your doctor examines the structures at the front of your eyes. A hand-held lens can also be utilized to examine the structures at the back of your eye. The slit lamp test is used to detect eye conditions and diseases from macular degeneration and corneal ulcers to diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. Below are the structures of your eyes your doctor will be examining:

  • Eyelids
  • Cornea
  • Conjunctiva
  • Iris
  • Lens
  • Retina
  • Optic Nerve

Glaucoma

As you age, your chances of glaucoma increase, but you can be diagnosed with this eye disease at any time. Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve in our eyes due to fluid building up in the front of your eye. The extra liquid causes increased pressure in your eye, resulting in damage to the optic nerve. Your doctor will complete a non-contact tonometry test, which releases a puff of air. The machine calculates your intraocular pressure based on your eye’s resistance to the air. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world today, making regular comprehensive eye exams a necessity.

Pupil Dilation

If your doctor wants a better view of the eye’s internal structures, dilating drops may be utilized to make your pupils larger temporarily. Different instruments will be used to look inside your eyes and take photos of your retina. Dilation drops can cause sun sensitivity and difficulty focusing, but these residual symptoms will only last a matter of hours depending on the strength of drops used.

Make an Appointment for Your Eye Exam Today

Scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams is crucial, as your eyes’ health and vision capabilities directly affect your quality of life. The Art of Optiks team strives to provide the best possible care for each patient and customer that comes through our door. Our doctors have expert knowledge and years of experience to provide you with a luxury eyecare experience crafted especially for you. Whether you’ve noticed a change in your vision or are looking for a routine check-up, it’s time to make an appointment for your eye exam today.

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