Types of Eye Exams
Comprehensive Eye Exams
A technician will complete the first part of your eye exam, including a visual acuity, eye pressure and refraction to obtain your best corrected vision. Your pupils will be dilated with eye drops to allow the back of your eye, the retina and optic nerve, to be visualized. The dilating drops take approximately 30 minutes to take full effect. Your eyes will remain dilated for 4 to 6 hours; you will be sensitive to bright light and possibly blurry for near vision. We have disposable sunglasses available for your comfort. You may wish to have a driver with you, especially if this is the first time your eyes will be dilated.
After your eyes are dilated, you will be brought back to see the doctor who will perform the rest of the exam. This usually entails using a microscope called a slit lamp to view the front structures of your eyes and bright lights to view the retina and optic nerves. This may be uncomfortable but it will not harm your eyes. The doctor will discuss the findings of the exam with you as well as any treatment plans if needed.
A consultation exam is more extensive than a comprehensive eye exam and may last several hours. Usually another physician has referred you for diagnosis and treatment of a specific condition that they do not specialize in or treat. An in-depth health history, including your family members, may be obtained to aid in the diagnosis. Additional special testing may be performed in the office and laboratory testing or x-rays may be ordered. Communication with your primary care doctor or referring doctor may be necessary to coordinate your care efficiently.
Pediatric Exams / Eye Exams for Children
Our pediatric ophthalmic physician specializes in all aspects of pediatric eye care. From managing complex medical and surgical problems to routine vision care, she provides services for a wide variety of pediatric ophthalmic issues.
The eye exams for children may take longer than an adult exam. After the technician performs the first part of the exam, the doctor may need to see the child before any eye drops are given. This will allow the doctor to check the eye muscles and take any measurements that may be needed.
At this point, the child’s eyes will be dilated. Pediatric eye drops will take approximately 30 minutes to fully take effect. Your child’s eyes will remain dilated for 6 to 8 hours, maybe longer, and they will be sensitive to bright light and blurry for near vision. We have disposable sunglasses available to make them more comfortable.
After dilation, your child will be brought back to see the doctor again who will then perform the rest of the exam. This usually entails using a microscope called a slit lamp to view the front structures of the eyes and bright lights to view the retina and optic nerves. This may be uncomfortable but it will not harm their eyes. The doctor will discuss the findings of the exam with you as well as any treatment plans if needed.
Contact Lens Exams
Before being fit with contact lenses, you will need to have a comprehensive eye examination to ensure that your eyes are healthy. Careful measurements are taken that will assist the doctor in deciding which lenses may be right for you. If you wear contacts lenses please wear them into your appointment, bring your glasses, and any information about your contacts such as the prescription or boxes.
A contact lens fitting exam is for the first time contact lens wearer. This exam will take more time due to instruction and training on insertion and removal of the lenses as well as reviewing lens care systems.
A contact lens refit exam is for current contact lens wearers that may want or need to be fit into another type of contact lens. Several lenses may be fit at this exam and training is rarely needed. Specialty contact lenses for astigmatism and keratoconus are available along with multifocal contact lenses.
We have a large inventory of diagnostic lenses (soft and gas permeable) that are used to aid and accelerate the fitting process. We also have a vast stock of soft disposable contact lenses which are conveniently available for purchase in our office.
Low Vision Exams
During a low vision evaluation a patient is assessed for aids to enhance remaining vision after a loss due to such conditions as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or other ocular diseases. When conventional glasses do not meet the patient’s visual needs, a variety of optical and non-optical devices ranging from simple optical magnifiers to telescopic glasses or electronic magnifiers are assessed. Even though low vision aids do not bring back lost vision they can improve independence and quality of life. It is important for patients coming to a low vision exam to bring all of their glasses and vision devices with them.
Components of a Comprehensive Eye Exam
Visual Acuity Test — Part of every eye exam, the eye chart test allows the doctor to measure your ability to see at varying distances.
Refraction – A refraction checks the prescription of your eyes and can be used to obtain glasses. This very important test may be done even if you do not wish to get new glasses. Performing a refraction shows the doctor what your best corrected vision is; what the best vision is that you can attain. A decrease in visual acuity can be the first sign that something is wrong. Knowing your best corrected vision can help the doctor monitor changes in eye conditions or help to decide when cataract surgery is necessary.
Tonometry — This instrument is used to measure pressure within the eye: A high pressure reading could be a sign of glaucoma. Prior to the test, numbing drops are placed in the eyes. The numbing drops do not affect your vision. In most cases, it is not necessary to measure the eye pressure in children.
Slit Lamp Exam — The slit lamp is used primarily to view the anterior (front) structures of the eye such as the iris, lens and cornea. It is a microscope with a light attached, allowing examination of the eye under high magnification. With special lenses it also examines the vitreous and the back of the eye.
Fundus Exam – The fundus exam consists of using a bright light to visualize the back structures of the eye, the retina and optic nerve, through a dilated pupil. The eye is the only place in the body where you can see blood vessels without surgery. The doctor will check the health of your eyes and look for changes consistent with diabetes, macular degeneration, glaucoma or other diseases.
These tests are not part of every eye exam but are done when indicated.
Visual Field Test —This test enables the doctor to determine if there is a loss of peripheral (side) vision, which could be a sign of glaucoma or neuro-ophthalmic conditions.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) – OCT is a crucial tool for the diagnosis and management of conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion and glaucoma. This test uses a beam of light to view the layers of the retina.
Fundus Photography – Photography is used in ophthalmology mainly as a form of documentation which allows the doctor to compare your eye at the current exam to previous exams. This is helpful with glaucoma to monitor the size and shape of the optic nerves. It is also useful to look for any changes in a nevus (freckle in the retina) that could be significant over time.
Fluorescein Angiogram (FA) – Fluorescein Angiography helps your doctor see what is happening in the circulatory system of your retina, highlighting any abnormalities that may be present. A dye is injected into a vein in your arm. As the dye enters the blood vessels, photographs are taken of the back of your eye. These photos will help the doctor to see many things such as abnormal blood vessels and areas where the circulation is not adequate. This procedure is performed in the office. Your eyes will be dilated so it is recommended to have someone to drive you.