During a comprehensive eye exam several tests are administered to test both the patient’s vision and overall eye health.

  • At the beginning of the exam, the doctor should ask about any issues or other existing conditions that may be affecting your vision, as well as review any other concerns.
  • Next, the doctor will see how clearly you can see. One of the most efficient ways to do this is by reading letters from an eye chart on the wall, called a Snellen Chart, and sentences from a hand-held sheet. Each eye is also tested on its own to check for any disparity.
  • To test for glaucoma, the doctor will puff a small amount of air in each eye. The doctor can tell a lot by how well your eye responds to this puff of air. Some people find it uncomfortable but most are just startled by it. It typically doesn’t hurt.  A machine with different cards with colored dots that form numbers will check for any color blindness that may exist.
  • To check the refraction of the eye, the doctor uses a tool called a retinoscope which shines light into the eyes and estimates the appropriate prescription strength. After that the doctor uses a series of slightly different lenses in front of the eyes and asking if the changes made vision better or worse. This test determines if vision correction is needed, and if so what prescription strength is required.
  • Then the doctor will use a biomicroscope to examine the health of the patient’s eye. This allows the doctor to have a magnified view of the front, middle and back of the eye and will check for vision conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
  • In some cases, the doctor may place drops into the patient’s eye to dilate the pupils which allows for an even better view of the peripheral areas of the eye.

After performing this series of tests, the doctor should offer an assessment based on the results and should answer any questions the patient may have.