It’s common for adults to visit an eye doctor at least once every few years to have their vision checked. This typically includes performing several basic tests to determine the health of your eyes and the status of your vision. Sometimes an optometrist finds a problem to investigate further and orders additional eye tests. Depending on the complexity of the test, you may complete it at the same appointment or at a follow-up appointment. Some of the most common eye tests performed at routine exams include the following:
- Biomicroscope test: Also called a slit lamp, this device lights up and magnifies the front of your eye. Optometrists rely on it to enable them to check the back of your eye as well as your lens, cornea, and iris to determine if you have any eye diseases or injuries that would require further treatment.
- Cover test: The purpose of this test is to determine how well your eyes function as a team. Your eye doctor will instruct you to look at an object some distance away while covering and then uncovering each eye. Things your optometrist looks for in this test are eyes that turn away from the target and whether your eyes seem to move independently of one another.
- Eye muscle movement test: You will follow a small object like the tip of a pen or the doctor’s fingertip to determine whether your eyes are in proper alignment.
- Ophthalmoscopy test: You probably know this better as the eye dilation test. The optometrist puts special drops into your eyes to make it possible to view the back of each one along with your retina, its blood vessels, and any fluid in your eyes.
- Pupil reactions: The doctor will produce different lighting conditions in the exam room to determine how your eyes react to light. Other things the doctor looks for include the position of your eyelids and whether the whites of your eyes appear healthy.
- Visual acuity test: This involves sitting several feet away from an eye chart and reading the letters printed on it back to the optometrist. The letters typically become smaller and less bold the further you read down the chart. You will read the letters on the chart with both eyes open, then with your left eye covered, and finally with your right eye covered. It’s not uncommon for people to have better vision in one eye than the other.
Preserve Your Vision and Eye Health with Regular Exams
You don’t have to accept deteriorating vision and eye health as a normal part of aging. Practicing good habits such as resting your eyes when they’re sore, always wearing your glasses, and scheduling regular check-ups with an optometrist can go a long ways towards prime optical health throughout your life.