What is an eye examination?
An eye examination is a series of tests which are usually conducted by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor), or other professionals such as optometrists. There are different types of eye examination to assess different parts of people's vision, and it is recommended that all people should have periodic eye examinations to check eye health and detect any potential abnormality or disease.
What should I expect during an eye examination?
If you go in for an eye exam, you can usually expect these basic steps:
- Giving a medical history and describing any problems in vision, if applicable
- Having your visual acuity (sharpness, acuteness) measured to check if glasses or contact lenses may be needed
- Having your eye pressure measured
- Getting your eye health checked, using lights shone in particular places on the eye to examine both the front and the inside
Other tests may be performed during the examination, such as the reading of an eye chart, a cover test to check the alignment of the eyes, or an examination of the retina. Your ophthalmologist will advise the tests they wish to perform, and explain the steps as they perform them. After the examination they will explain what they have found, and answer any questions you may have.
How can I prepare for an eye examination?
If you wear contact lenses or glasses, make sure to take them with you when you go to the appointment, so the doctor can check if your prescription is accurate. Depending on the type of test performed, you may wish to arrange for someone to take you home afterwards, as certain tests can cause a little discomfort or blur vision. Other tests dilate the eyes, so you may want to have sunglasses at the ready, as bright lights can be uncomfortable after this type of exam.
Why is an eye examination performed?
Eye examinations should be performed regularly as part of routine health checks. This means the doctor or professional can see differences in your eyesight, check for any abnormalities, and correct any vision problems. A healthy adult with no vision problems should expect to have eye tests every 5-10 years whilst in their 20s and 30s, every 2-4 years from age 40-54, every 1-3 years from age 55-64, and evey 1-2 years after the age of 65. If you already wear glasses or contact lenses, this means you should have your eyes tested more frequently. You also may need more frequent eye tests if there is a history of eye disease in your family, or if you suffer from a chronic illness or disease which puts you at greater risk of developing some kind of eye disease (such as diabetes).