Comprehensive Eye Exam
Upon arrival a patient is asked to fill out various forms related to their visual, medical and social history. This is necessary in order for the Optometrist to understand how the patient uses their eyes and how their social and medical history may relate to the patient's current visual status and chief complaints. The doctor will review these issues with the patient before beginning any testing. Pre-testing by a certified technician also gathers additional information that may be needed to begin the check-up, including eye pressure measurement, corneal curvatures, auto-refraction, color vision assessment, and visual field or peripheral vision assessment. These early tests enable the Optometrist to have a basic understanding of any early eye disease present like cataracts, glaucoma, or peripheral vision loss which may indicate the need for further more specialized testing.
The examination will include assessment of the ocular muscles to determine any strabismus (eye crossing) or weakness that may be contributing to a patient's visual fatigue, difficulty reading or maintaining focus on the computer. Pupillary function is also tested to determine if the patient has any signs of neurologic disfunction such as early tumors, trauma or congential anomolies. A complete refraction is also performed to determine the patient's needed prescription for best visual acuity at distance and near, including any corrections for astigmatism that may be required.
Next, a slit lamp or biomicroscope is used by the doctor to examine the external structures of the eye including the lids, conjunctiva, and cornea. The doctor is looking for any signs of abnormal growths on the tissue, infection, inflammation, or secondary eye disease. Special handheld condensing lenses may also be used to examine the interior of the eye. This may be done in order to examine the patient for any signs of early cataracts, vitreal floaters or macular disease. Sometimes dilation is required to see the structures of the eye in more detail. This is always recommended but the patient may reschedule this portion of the exam to a later day if they are unable to be dilated on the day of the appointment. Dilation is absolutely necessary in cases of excessive floaters, loss of vision, chronic headaches, flashing lights, family history of glaucoma, elevated intraocular pressure, diabetes or hypertension, and other systemic diseases known to cause retinal damage.
At the conclusion of the examination, the doctor will review your test results, explain any abnormal findings, relate these to your visual prognosis, and make recommendations regarding further treatment. Your options for vision correction will be explained in detail and a prescription will be released to you. If the patient has any questions or concerns, the doctor will also address them at this time.