Author: Eric Johnson
Date: July 9, 2022

Optometry: 8 Things to Expect from Your First Eye Exam

A regular visit to an eye doctor important part of maintaining your health, but many people wait until they have a problem to start going. If you are going to your first eye exam, your first eye exam with an optometrist is relatively straightforward; however, first-time appointments may be more involved than routine ones. Knowing what will occur during the exam may help ease any nerves.

Optometry: What to expect from a first eye exam

Eye exam

Below, find out what to expect from a first-time optometry exam.

1. Medical History 

First-time optometry, the optometry will most likely be asked to provide some information about their medical history. This information can be helpful to the eye doctor when preparing to examine the patient's eyes. Any medical conditions or genetic issues may also help to explain specific eye abnormalities. Having this information ready for the first exam can be beneficial.

2. Visual Acuity Test

Optometrists perform visual acuity tests on patients of all ages. These tests are essential for people who have vision problems. During this optometry exam, your doctor will ask you to identify letters of the alphabet printed on a chart or shown on a screen. This is called a Snellen chart, and the lines of letters get progressively smaller. Once the test is completed, the optometrist will determine the patient's eyesight.

If the results are unsatisfactory, the optometrist may prescribe glasses or contacts.

3. Eye Pressure Test

If this is your first visit to the eye doctor, glaucoma (eye pressure) test may sound intimidating - don't worry! The glaucoma test is a simple procedure that measures the pressure in your inner eye. Our eye doctor will have you rest your chin in a machine while a small tool is moved very close to your vision for this test. Then, a little poof of air pressure will be blown into your eye. This test is rapid, and it is essential to stay very still and not blink.

4. Visual Field Test

The brain is very good at filling in any blank spots in your vision, which is what this test is designed to do. The test measures the entire scope of what can be seen when the eyes are focused on a central point. It is an important tool for detecting and monitoring various eye conditions, especially those affecting the optic nerve and the visual pathways to the brain.

If you can see a light flash on a screen, you press a button; doing so repeatedly in different locations generates a map of the blanks in your vision. This type of visual field test is called Automated Perimetry.

5. Slit-lamp Examination

A slit-lamp examination, also known as biomicroscopy, is a diagnostic technique used by ophthalmologists and optometrists to examine the anterior and posterior segments of the eye in detail. The slit lamp shines a bright but painless light into one eye. It allows the doctor to examine your eye with a magnifying glass to look for abnormalities that may indicate disease.

6. Indirect Ophthalmoscopy

Indirect ophthalmoscopy is a diagnostic technique used in eye examinations to examine the back of the eye, particularly the retina, vitreous humor, and the optic nerve head. This method provides a wide and detailed view of the retina and is often used by ophthalmologists to assess various eye conditions. The doctor uses an instrument on their head to direct light through a lens close to your eye, similar to a slit-lamp examination.

7. Eye Dilation

Eye dilation is a very common part of eye examination. Your eye doctor may use eye drops to increase your pupils' size. This dilation allows the examiner to see the interior of the eye more clearly, including the retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels. While dilation may cause temporary sensitivity to light and mild blurriness, the benefits of such thorough examination outweigh these temporary discomforts.

8. OCT Screening

Optical Coherence Tomography, often referred to as OCT screening, is a non-invasive imaging technique that utilizes light waves to capture detailed cross-sectional images of the tissues inside the body. OCT is commonly used to assess the structures of the eye, particularly the retina. The OTC screening technology generates high-resolution images, allowing your eye doctor to visualize and measure the thickness of the retina and other structures at a microscopic level.It helps them diagnose eye and optic nerve conditions.

With these tests, your doctor can fully evaluate the health of your eyes. After your first eye exam, be sure to go regularly checking your eyes is just as important as a regular checkup. Reach out to us today so we can help answer questions or discuss any concerns. 

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