Comprehensive Eye Exam
A comprehensive eye exam is the cornerstone of caring for your eyes and vision throughout a lifetime. It is much more than a simple vision check. It includes multiple tests to assess your vision, visual function, eye health, and even clues to your overall health.
A thorough case history will cover both your own and your family’s eye and
medical history. It also covers occupational or environmental conditions that may affect your eyes.
Visual acuity testing is the familiar measuring of your vision on an eye chart, followed next by a series of short preliminary tests that can be thought of as “eye vitals.” They are used to quickly assess a number of neurologic eye skills including color vision, pupil function, eye movements, peripheral vision, and depth perception.
The refraction is the portion of the eye exam that most people think of when thinking of a typical exam. The phoropter, an instrument containing many combinations of lenses, is placed in front of your eyes and the eye doctor uses it to measure and correct any refractive error such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The phoropter is also used to measure eye focus, alignment, and coordination or “eye teaming.” This helps ensure that your visual system functions efficiently to provide clear, comfortable vision, especially for reading.
The eye health portion is a thorough assessment of all the structures of the eye, from front to back, along with the soft tissues surrounding the eyes and the eye lids. It is during this portion of the exam that any eye health or systemic health issues may be identified. Eye drops may be used to dilate your pupils to allow a “bay window” view into the back of the eye including the lens, retina, macula, and optic nerve.
At the end of the comprehensive exam your eye doctor will discuss their assessment of your overall eye health and refractive status, and will discuss a plan to address any issues. This may include glasses or contact lens prescriptions, further evaluation with supplemental testing, referrals to a specialist or surgeon, or communication with your primary care provider.
Written by: Dr. Forgit, optometrist since 2004