How to Prepare for an Eye Exam

Eye Exams

Eye exams can help you maintain good eye health and determine if you need to take further measures to avoid visual impairment. They can help you figure out if you need contacts or glasses, or if you need to change an already existing prescription. An eye doctor at the Atlanta Vision Center can help you identify underlying ocular problems such as cataracts, degeneration or glaucoma. Although going in for eye exams can sometimes be intimidating, preparing and planning ahead can help put you at ease.

Scheduling an Exam

Before seeing an eye doctor, make a list of any eye problems you’re experiencing. These could include eye pain, double vision, seeing flashes of light, frequent headaches, or difficulty distinguishing between colors. Try to investigate any recent health issues or injuries you had or if you have a family history of eye problems. You may be at a higher risk of developing an eye condition if any of your family members has had glaucoma, or cataracts, among others. Schedule an eye exam even if you don’t experience any symptoms.

You’re also at a greater risk of developing eye complications if you have hypertension or diabetes, or if you’ve undergone eye surgery or taken medication with side effects that affect the eye. Furthermore, schedule an eye exam if your occupation is very visually demanding, or hazardous to the eye. Prepare a list of questions to be clear about your problem and to help figure out better ways to care for your eyes. Because of the different types of eye doctors, determine the right one for you. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who can perform surgery. An optometrist is not a medical doctor but can find non-surgical methods to treat the eye.

What to Expect

Expect a pre-test, which can include being asked about your medical history and that of your family. The initial eye test will measure your visual acuity and eye pressure and may be conducted by a clinical assistant. This test is conducted by looking into an instrument that softly blows air into your eye. Other pretests involve letting your chin rest on a test instrument for stability and looking into an image of a hot air balloon that changes focus. This test tries to estimate your distance prescription. You may also be asked to look into a monitor and click a button whenever you see a flashing light.

Advanced Eye Tests

Expect a thorough exam to be conducted by your doctor. To check your eye alignment, the doctor will conduct a cover test, where one of your eyes will be covered and you will be required to focus on an object across the room. A retinoscopy will also be done, where the lights are dimmed and you’re asked to look at a chart with different-sized letters, as the doctor flips lenses until you see clearly.

The slit lamp exam allows your doctor to examine the back of your eye. You will be asked to look in specific directions as the lamp shines an intense light inside. The doctor may also use a hand-held lens. Lastly, the doctor will perform subjective refraction, where he or she will show you a series of lens choices and ask you which ones look clear. On picking one, the doctor will repeat the procedure to fine-tune your choice, until the prescription best matches your needs.

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