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What is an eye “examination”?

Most of us associate going to the optometrist with the test “Which is better, one or two?”. This test, called a refraction, can cause anxiety for some people, as they don’t want to give a wrong answer and feel they will be stuck with an incorrect prescription until their next complete examination. Suffice to say that experienced optometrists have the knowledge and understanding of what a patient needs before they even answer.

But there is much, much more to a comprehensive eye examination than the refraction. When your optometrist swings around this instrument, whether it is the traditional black one or a computerized version, he/she is determining your eye glasses prescription. In addition to the refraction, your doctor will look at your eyes through a microscope. This may entail using various high-powered lenses to view the back of the eye. Also, there are many tests that the doctor’s technicians or assistants will do. These include checking vision and eye pressure, testing color vision and depth perception, checking pupil function, and obtaining retinal images for the doctor to review. And if you wear contact lenses, there are additional tests that need to be performed, including but not limited to, checking the vision and fit of the lenses.

So the next time you visit your optometrist, you’ll have an idea of what to expect!