During a complete medical eye exam, many tests are done by very skilled people. Each test helps rule out a dozen diseases. A checklist is used to prevent omitting any items. It takes approximately 2 hours maximum to complete this examination.
The Exam Begins
You will usually be brought to an examination room within 15 minutes of your scheduled appointment time. Either our medical assistant or our optometrist will take a history regarding your eye problems, medications, etc. The medical assistant will then proceed with initial testing and will use drops in accordance with the doctor’s instructions.
Dilation of the pupils is necessary on all complete exams in order to detect many problems and diseases in the eye. In addition, the eye drops make the measurements for eyeglasses more accurate in certain cases. The dilating drops take 30 – 40 minutes to work and involve sitting in a darkened room to take effect. These drops wear off in a few hours and require plastic sunglasses to protect the eyes from glare. The receptionist will give you the plastic dark glasses when you check out. Occasionally we see a patient whose eyes remain dilated for a few days. There is no harm in this. If there is discomfort, such as burning, stinging or light sensitivity, apply warm compresses and call the office for instructions. If your vision is made blurry with dilating drops, please do not drive yourself.
A complete medical eye exam consists of:
- Obtaining a proper history of eye symptoms as well as general medical and family background information.
- Measurements of visual acuity.
- Checking of your previous glasses.
- Measurement of the optical condition of the eye (Refraction) to determine if glasses will improve the vision.
- Examination of pupillary reactions and visual pathway to the brain.
- Testing of the eye muscle movements in various directions of gaze.
- Check of parallelism of the eyes to discover crossing or other imbalance.
- Screening of peripheral visual fields.
- Examination of the lids, lashes, and tear flow system. Glaucoma testing.