Eye examinations are vital as they assess the health of your vision and check the ability to focus on and distinguish between objects. In addition, the Optometrist looks for other medical conditions such as age-related Macular Degeneration, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy (brought on by Diabetes) and hypertension (high-blood pressure). Your eyes show warning signs to the overall health of your body and early diagnosis is key to maintaining your overall health.
Often an eye examination can be extremely daunting! One must undergo a series of tests implemented on large unknown machinery with the chance of being told that your vision needs to be corrected.
While your eye exam will be individually suited to your needs, below is an explanation of what you can expect during the eye examination process to put your mind at ease: Your optometrist will want to know about your overall health! Be ready to talk about any vision or eye issues, medication and family history!
1. The Autorefractor (Testing the refraction of the eye)
An auto refractor is the first step in the eye examination and is used to determine an individual’s prescription by measuring how light is affected as it reflects through the eyeball. The process is quick and painless for the patient, and the data ensures a baseline to determine the correct eyeglass or contact lens prescription.
2. The tonometer (Testing for Glaucoma)
This small, lightweight instrument releases a light wisp of air onto the surface of each of your eyes to measure their internal fluid pressure. Through this, your optometrist determines whether you are in danger of developing Glaucoma.
3. Digital retinal photography (Checking the internal health of the eye)
Next, your optometrist takes a photograph of the back of your eyes, which gives them a better idea of any possible eye problems which can be detected and discussed.
This photograph is saved in your file for future reference or comparison with any later photographs, in order that any new changes to your eye health can be identified and monitored.
4. The retinoscope (Testing for prescription)
In the third step your optometrist tries to get a precise measurement of your prescription by shining a light into your eye and observing the reflection (reflex) off your retina. This is particularly helpful for children or people who struggle to describe the clarity of their vision.
5. The Phoropter (Testing for prescription?) Looking at the test chart
After this, you are requested to read a test chart through a machine (Phoropter) that houses different strength lenses. Here, your optometrist modifies their results by testing each eye separately and then both eyes together until you have the clearest vision possible. This will determine the sharpness or clarity of both your near (reading) and distance vision
6.The ophthalmoscope (Checking the internal health of the eye)The next tool your optometrist uses to inspect the health of your eyes is a specialized bright torch. Shining a powerful light into each eye, your optometrist can see the retina at the back of your eye as well as your optic nerve and retinal blood vessels.
7. The slit lamp (Checking the external health of your eye)The second last step involves an intense microscope focused to shine a thin sheet of light into your eye that can observe your eyes’ front surface. Here, your optometrist looks for imperfections or marks on your cornea, iris and lens. If you wear contact lenses, this is a crucial part of your eye test.
After completing the test your optometrist has a comprehensive knowledge of your vision needs to now take the best course of action. Remember to bring along your current contact lenses, spectacles or sunglasses and a list of your current medications and answer the questions as honestly as possible to help your optometrist know how to proceed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be part of the process!