Eye exams are an important part of maintaining good vision and eye health. An eye exam is a comprehensive evaluation of your vision and eye health, and it can help detect any potential problems before they become serious. During an eye exam, an optometrist will review your medical history, perform an external and internal examination of your eyes, and measure the qualities of your vision, such as eye movement and coordination, acuity of vision, and peripheral vision. The optometrist will also evaluate your ability to adjust focus and to see color and depth normally.
If any problems are detected, the optometrist may recommend eyeglasses, contact lenses, exercises, medications, or surgery. If you have a family history of vision problems or have had any eye issues in the past, it is recommended that you have an eye exam every one to two years. This can help identify any potential vision problems early on and improve the quality of your vision if the prescription needs to be changed. Children should have at least one eye exam between the ages of two and five, and once a year after starting school.
At the beginning of an eye exam, the optometrist will ask about your medical history and if you've had any vision problems. If you have a health problem, such as high blood pressure, work at a job that requires you to use your eyes a lot, or take medications that can affect your vision, you may need more frequent tests. The optometrist will use one of three tests to map what you see at the edges (periphery) of the visual field and diagnose any potential eye conditions. Manual tests such as tangent detection tests and Goldmann tests may also be used.
During these tests, you will be asked to cover one eye while looking straight ahead and tell the doctor every time you see your hand move toward the view. You will also sit a short distance from a screen and focus on a target in its center. If you currently have eyeglasses or contact lenses, be sure to bring them to the exam so that your eye doctor can see if you need changes to the prescription.