Vancouver Optometrists

4466 West 10th Avenue
Call: 604-224-3937

What Happens During An Eye Exam?

Monday, June 8, 2015 @ 04:06 PM
Author: Amit Mathur


Most Canadians have seen an eye doctor at least a few times in our lives, and if you’re on top of your vision health, you’ve seen one regularly since you were a child. But if you have never seen an eye doctor, or haven’t been to one in a long time, here’s a run down of what you can expect when you see him or her.

Questions and more questions. To start, a full medical history is important. Knowing your family’s vision health history is also important in determining if you are at risk for any issues down the road. If you have diabetes or cardiovascular problems, this may also affect your vision. Talk to your doctor and make sure he knows as much about your overall health as your family doctor.

Your vision will be tested to see how well your eyes move, your ability to see objects near and far (using an eye chart), as well as your colour vision (if you are colour blind).

If your doctor thinks you might be nearsighted, farsighted, have astigmatism or presbyopia, they will do a refraction test. This is when the doctor puts a few different lenses in front of each eye to determine which lens helps you see clearer.

Examining the surface and inside of your eyes come next. She or he will use something called a slit lamp microscope which allows them access to this complex part of your body. If any disease is present, this will allow them to determine what it is.

Eye pressure determines whether you have, or are at risk of developing, glaucoma. In order to test for elevated pressure, the doctor must first numb your eye with a drop of anesthetic (which might sting a little). Then they will put a drop of dye on your eye which will light up when the doctor looks through the slit lamp and will allow him or her to measure the pressure within your eye.

A visual field test determines how much you can see directly in front of you as well as your peripheral vision. If you have any reduced vision, this is also an indication that something might be wrong.

To get a full scope of your vision health, your eye doctor will dilate your pupil so he or she can see what’s going on at the back of your eyes. This will make it uncomfortable for you to see properly in the office, but it’s the best way for the doctor to see what’s actually going on inside your eye. Since this effect lasts a couple of hours at most, bring a pair of sunglasses and plan on having someone drive you home after your appointment.

Photos help your doctor not only get an idea of what’s going on, but also keep a record on file of your vision health throughout the years. Photos can be taken of your retina, optic nerve and other parts of your eyes. These images also help to see if there is any damage to these individual parts as a result of disease or glaucoma or any other factors.

Last, but certainly not least, if you’re unsure about anything that’s going on, be sure to ask your doctor questions along the way. They will gladly walk you through the different instruments and machines they use and explain what it all means to ensure you’re knowledgeable about your own vision health. Of course, your last question should always be about when to book your next exam.

Leave a Reply