Eye exams 101

Your Comprehensive Eye Exam

Did you know that many common eye diseases have no early signs or symptoms?

Did you know that many common eye diseases have no early signs or symptoms?  This is why your doctor of optometry examines the tissues and structures inside your eye during an exam.  They are looking for eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration, as well as tears in the retina, bleeding and tumours. The exam will take approximately 20 minutes.

The examination steps you can expect include:

  • Case history
    • You may be asked about your general health, medications, your work environment, hobbies, etc. You will also be asked to describe any vision problems you are be experiencing.
  • External eye examination
    • The external area around the eye will be examined to ensure that there are no abnormalities.
  • Internal eye examination
    • Using the slit lamp microscope and an ophthalmoscope, your doctor of optometry will check your eyes for indications of abnormalities. Some problems detected during an internal eye examination may indicate possible disease, such as diabetes or hypertension. If your optometrist sees any of these warning signs, you will be referred to a physician for further examination.
  • Tonometry
    • This measures the fluid pressure in the eye and is an important test in detecting glaucoma.
  • Vision test
    • A number of tests are used to assess your vision.
        • Retinoscopy – your doctor can determine the strength of your eyes using various lenses and the retinoscope. This is done without feedback from the patient and is an invaluable instrument for assessing the vision problems of children and others who may not be able to read an eye chart.
        • Visual acuity – using the familiar wall chart and a hand-held charts, your doctor will assess your ability to see small detail clearly at both near and far distances. You may sit behind a phoropter, an instrument containing a combination of lenses. Lens choices are systematically changed until clear focus is obtained.
        • Eye movement – your doctor will use a number of tests to evaluate how well your eyes align or coordinate when working together and individually.
        • Peripheral vision – your doctor will evaluate how well you see targets that are not directly in front of you.

Other tests may be undertaken to evaluate your ability to change focus, see colour correctly, or perceive depth correctly. Your doctor of optometry will choose those tests required to adequately evaluate YOUR visual system.