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What to Expect During a Routine Eye Exam

Image of doctor with eye equipment.

Routine eye exams are straightforward, quick and painless. Most doctors recommend screening your vision on an annual basis to ensure your vision prescription is up to date (or to determine you need one) and to make sure your eyes are healthy. Regular eye exams are the first line of defense against eye disorders, such as chronic dry eye, inflammation, glaucoma, age-related issues and cataracts.

During a regular visit, you can expect your optometrist to perform the following tests to determine your eye health:

Pre-Exam Tests. A technician will often perform a few basic tests before you see the doctor, including a color sensitivity test, peripheral vision test, a glaucoma (or “air puff” test) and a cover test to determine how well your eyes work together. He or she may also use an autorefractor, which automatically measures your vision prescription, to gain a ballpark understanding of your vision needs.

Pupillary Reactions. Using a light, the doctor checks your pupils’ responsiveness. Your pupils’ response to light is a natural function of the eye and is critical to your vision. While using the light, the doctor will also look at the surface of your eye for signs of dry eye, corneal scratches and bacterial debris.

Slit Lamp Test. During a slit light test (also called a biomicroscope), the doctor will shine a vertical bar of light into your eye to magnify your eye’s surface and inspect for abnormalities on the cornea, iris and lens. This test usually takes a few minutes, and you may be asked to blink or stare at your doctor’s ear so he can look closely at your eye’s surface.

Visual Acuity and Refraction. The most well-known part of the eye exam is the visual acuity test. Your doctor will ask you to read an eye chart filled with numbers and letters with one or both eyes. Your ability to clearly read and identify the numbers and letters helps the doctor further determine your vision prescription needs. To hone in on your exact prescription, your doctor will place a large lens refractor in front of you and ask you a series of questions about which lenses make your vision better or worse.

Pupil Dilation. At the end of your exam, the doctor may ask you if you would like to have your eyes dilated. By dilating your eyes, the doctor can examine your retina and optic nerve more fully. To perform this part of the exam, the doctor will put a few drops in your eyes that cause your pupils to enlarge, letting more light in and giving him or her a better view into your eye. Your eyes may be sensitive to light for up to an hour after the test, so it’s best to avoid being outside in direct sunlight afterward.

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    Kelly R.
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  • "Met Dr. Tekell for my annual appointment. She is very personable and professional. So easy to talk to. It was a very good appointment. So glad to see that although Dr. Jackman is not physically here anymore, his staff is continuing his great practice! Sure do miss him!"
    Ruby A.
  • "I have always had a wonderful experience at this location with all of their personnel and with the doctors. I have complete confidence in the accuracy of the exam. The excellent help of the staff ensures that the fit of the frames and of the way the lens sit in the frames is perfect. My previous frames were made with expert precision and durability, and have lasted for the past 4 years with no problems. They were built to last and that is hard to find in this day and age. If I could give a perfect 10 rating, I would."
    Kelly C.
  • "My 1st visit was in 2016 with Dr. Huser. She was terrific: engaged, knowledgeable, excellent communication skills. I later recommended her to my husband, and was even more pleased with the outcome. She diagnosed the source of his chronic eye irritation — relieving us of the fear that it might be a permanent result of surgery he’d had elsewhere — and offered some simple interventions which have actually worked. Saw Dr. Tekell recently when Dr. Huser was out of the office and was similarly impressed. This is a quality practice and they’ve assembled a great team — excellent optometrists, supported by friendly and helpful staff, and opticians who know their stuff, too."
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    Casey S.
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  • "Best eye exam i have ever had. Period. Dr. Huser is AWESOME!"
    Jason M.
  • "Absolutely had the best experience! Jan is a star in my eyes filled with kindness and professionalism. The entire crew was super nice and accommodating to my 86 year old mom and me. I will never go anywhere else to get an eye test, or to get glasses. Thank you for making our day and for going above and beyond my wildest expectations."
    Zahra R.