How do eye tests work?

If you have booked your first ever appointment at an eye clinic, you are probably going to find yourself scared or even confused about what to expect during an eye exam. Even if it’s not your first comprehensive eye exam, many people still aren’t sure what to expect if it has been a long time since their last comprehensive eye exam. We are here to assure you that you do not have to be afraid of an eye test.

A wide variety of tests and procedures are available for examination of eyes. These range from simple tests like reading an eye chart to complex ones like visualizing all the tiny details and structures of your eyes using high-powered lens. A detailed and comprehensive eye exam may take up to an hour of your time on average. This time duration can also increase or decrease based on the complexity of tests required to evaluate your vision and eye health.

Here is a list of some of the common tests that you are likely to encounter during a comprehensive eye examination:

  1. Color Blindness:

To test color blindness, a simple screening test is conducted via specially designed test charts for detecting color vision. These test charts are helpful in diagnosing hereditary color vision deficiencies or other problems that are likely to affect your color vision.

  • Eye Movements:

Your eye movements are tested by a series of tests called as ocular motility tests. These ocular motility tests are performed to check how smoothly your eyes follow a moving object. Both, smooth and rapid eye movements are tested. These are simple tests, your eye doctor will hold your head still and command you to follow the movements of a target just with your eyes without moving your head. Rapid eye movements are tested by moving your eyes back and forth between two targets that are positioned at a distance from each other.

  • Depth Perception:

Depth perception is the ability of your eyes to visualize the three dimensional nature of objects.  The technical term for depth perception is stereopsis. A series of tests are available to test depth perception. One of the commonly used ones is looking at a series of test patterns through 3D glasses.

  • Visual Acuity:

This is among one of the first tests performed during a comprehensive eye exam. This test measures the sharpness of your vision. Both near and far visions are tested through visual acuity charts. Near vision is tested through hand held chart and far vision is tested through projected or distant eye charts. This is one of the simplest tests performed during an eye exam and does not require any fancy equipment.

  • Retinoscopy:

If your visual acuity tests are not satisfactory and you require a pair of prescription glasses for your vision then retinoscopy is performed to obtain an approximation of your eye glasses prescription. This test is performed in a dim light and target is fixed which you will be asked to focus on.

Other than these other tests will also be conducted to check your eye health like:

  • slit lamp examination to visualize the structures of your eye under high magnification
  • refraction power of your eye
  • glaucoma test to measure the pressure of fluid inside your eye
  • pupil dilation
  • visual filed tests

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