Getting An Eye Exam Soon? What To Expect At Your Visit

Did you know that it is recommended that you get an eye exam every 1-2 years, even if you don’t have vision issues? The reason for this is that there are certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration that doesn’t typically present symptoms in their early stages. The only way to catch them before they develop and become more serious is if you allow your eyes to be examined  for abnormalities.


Now that you’ve set your appointment at eye doctor in Vancouver it is time to talk about what will happen during your visit. This way, you will be prepared to ask any necessary questions and can shake off any pre-exam jitters you may have. It’s okay to feel nervous, these are your eyes after all, but once you know what to expect, there’ll be no surprises and you can feel more comfortable.


So, without further ado, let’s talk about what will happen at your visit.


Preparing for your exam


There’s nothing special that you will be required to do for your exam from home. If you wear fashion contacts, take them out before heading to the office. Bring sunglasses in case your eyes will need to be dilated.


Before your exam


Before the exam begins, your optometrist will ask general questions about your health and medical history to determine if you are at high risk for certain eye disorders. Next, you will be asked about any vision issues you’ve had, if you’ve ever worn glasses or contacts, the medication you are on, and if necessary, the type of work you do.


Then, you will be informed about what is happening to you at each step.


NB: This is a pain-free examination.


During the exam


Depending on the answers you have given, the optometrist will perform a few of or all of the following tests:


Eye muscle test


Your exam may start with an eye muscle test to test the strength of your eyes. You will be asked to follow a moving object such as a light or a pen while the optometrist watches your eye movements closely for any abnormality or weakness.


Visual acuity test


Your doctor will also measure the clarity of your vision in each eye. You will be asked to read various letters of the alphabet from different distances and of various sizes.


Color blindness test


Another test your doctor may perform is a color blindness test to check your color vision, especially for persons who are at a high risk of developing color blindness.


Eye alignment test


Your doctor may also perform a simple eye alignment test to check how well your eyes work together. The most common way to do so is with a cover test. One eye is covered with an instrument and you will be instructed to focus on a small object far away, followed by one close by. This will help to rule out the possibility of a lazy eye or cross-eyes.


Depth perception test


Your doctor will ask you to wear 3D glasses or look into an instrument to look at test circles to determine which is closer. This will help your doctor to determine if you have normal depth perception.


Retinoscopy test


This test is especially useful for children or adults who are unable to answer the questions asked by the examiner. In this test, the lights will be dimmed and you will be asked to focus on a large target. Then, the examiner will shine a light at the eyes then cycle through lenses to determine which lens power is suitable for correcting your vision.


Refraction test


The purpose of this test is to figure out which eyeglass prescription will be most suited to your needs. Here, a doctor places a phoropter in front of your eyes and cycles through several lenses until you can find the one which allows you to see the clearest. He/she may also use an autorefractor/aberrometer to make the process quicker.


Eye pressure test


The doctor will apply special numbing eye drops to your eyes. These drops have a special yellow dye that glows under blue light. Next, the doctor will touch the surface of your eye with a special instrument called a tonometer to test the pressure in your eyes.


Another method the optometrist may employ is the “puff-of-air” test where you will be asked to place your chin in a chin rest and stare at a light inside of a machine. Next, the doctor will puff air into your eye, and use the resistance of your eye to the puff to calculate your eye pressure.


Slit-lamp exam


The slit lamp test is performed under high magnification to allow the doctor to examine the structure of your eyes, such as your eyelids, iris, retina, optic nerve cornea, lens, and conjunctiva. This exam is done to detect several eye conditions and disorders such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.


Pupil dilation


This test involves the application of special eye drops to dilate the eyes to allow the doctor to take a look inside them. This test typically only takes place if you have serious symptoms or a pre-existing eye condition, or an eye injury. After this test, your vision will be blurry and you will experience light sensitivity afterwards, this is why you are advised to walk with sunglasses.


After the exam


When the exam is done, the optometrist will present you with the findings and engage you in a discussion on the best way to move forward. You may be prescribed eyeglasses at an optical store in Calgary or special medication afterward, or be scheduled for additional tests.


And that’s it! That’s all there is to it. Depending on your condition, it can last as little as 30 minutes to as long as 90 minutes.


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