What to Expect During an Eye Exam

Optometrists and ophthalmologists will use several kinds of tests to examine your eyes during a comprehensive exam. Here is what you can expect:

Visual Acuity Test. Perhaps the most basic of all eye tests. This generally involves you reading from an eye chart from a distance to measure your distance visual acuity and a small hand-held acuity chart to measure your near vision.

The Cover Test. Your eye doctor will want to ensure that your eyes are working together by having you focus on a small object across a room and then covering your eyes alternately while you stare at the target. The test will be repeated with you also looking at a nearby object.

Color Blindness Test. This will determine if you have a color vision deficiency. It is broken into two parts. A screening test to see if you have a color vision problem and then more detailed tests to determine the type and severity of any color blindness. The most common test for color blindness is the Ishihara Color Vision Test.

Ocular Motility Testing. This test is performed to see how well your eyes can follow a moving object and how quickly they can focus and fixate on two separate targets. The doctor will be looking for smooth eye movements. This may be done by having you hold your head still and track an object (i.e. a doctor’s finger) with your eyes.

Depth Perception Test. Also known as a Stereopsis Test, this helps to determine if you have normal depth perception and see the three dimensional nature of things as you should. You may be asked to wear a set of 3-D glasses and look at a book of test patterns, trying to point out which parts of the pattern look closer to you.

Glaucoma Test. Also known as the “puff-of-air” test, the doctor will blow a puff of air into your eyes to measure the pressure inside your eyes. Based on the amount of resistance to the puff, a machine will calculate your intraocular pressure. If it is high, you may have glaucoma.

More Advanced Tests

Pupil Dilation. To better see inside your eye, your doctor will put drops in your eyes that will dilate your pupils. It is considered one of the most thorough evaluations of your eyes.

Retinoscopy Test. This is performed to get an approximation of your eyeglasses prescription. The test consists of dimming lights in the examination room and having you focus on a large target across the room. The doctor will shine a light in your eye and flip lenses in a machine in front of your eyes. This enables the doctor to best determine your correct distance vision by seeing how the light reflects from your eye.

Boulder Eyes serves patients in Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder and other nearby Colorado communities.

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