Eye Exams and Screenings

s-patient3.jpgEye exams are very important to maintain the overall health of your eyes. They are designed to determine how well light rays are focused on the retina. Eye doctors are specially trained to check for, recognize and treat eye conditions and diseases. We recommend you have a yearly eye exam by one of our doctors.

If you wear contact lenses, be sure to inform our office staff when scheduling your appointment, as additional time may be needed. Please bring any information you have pertaining to your contact lenses.

There are a number of tests that our eye doctors may conduct during your normal routine eye exam to ensure your vision is at its best. Some of these tests include:

Visual Acuity Test

A Visual Acuity Test is a routine part of an eye examination performed to determine the smallest letters a patient can read on a standardized chart that is 20 feet away. You will be asked to cover one eye while reading aloud the smallest line of letters you can see on the chart. The test is performed on each eye, one at a time.

Your visual acuity will be expressed in a fraction. The top number represents the distance you stand from the chart, while the bottom number represents the distance at which a person with normal eyesight could read the same line you correctly read. For example, normal vision is considered 20/20. If your visual acuity is 20/40, then this indicates that the line that you correctly read at 20 feet can be read by a person with normal vision from 40 feet away.

Visual Field Test

A Visual Field Test will allow our doctors to see the full horizontal and vertical range of what you are able to see peripherally. They determine the potential of blind spots (scotomas) occurring, which could indicate eye diseases.

A Confrontation Visual Field Test is the most common type of field test used by eye doctors. You will be asked to cover one eye while focusing on a specific target object, such as the technician, and then you will be asked to describe images in his/her peripheral vision. If an eye disease is suspected, further comprehensive, more formal types of tests may be required.

Refraction Assessment

A refraction assessment helps your eye doctor determine the most accurate corrective lens prescription that will give you the best possible vision. You will be asked to look through a phoroptor, a mask-like device that contains different lenses that will help determine the best combination that will give you the sharpest vision.

Autorefractor Testing

An autorefractor is usually used by our technicians to determine an approximate prescription for your glasses. A chin rest will help stabilize your head while you look at a picture of an object at distance. It is used to evaluate the way your retina focuses an image. The computer measures a retinal reflex which can be used as a starting point for your refraction. Autorefractors are commonly used in evaluating children’s eyes or as a screening tool.


A retinoscopy test will sometimes be performed early in the eye exam so the doctor can determine an approximate prescription from which to start. With the room’s lights dim, you will be asked to look through the phoropter and focus on a large target (usually the big “E” on the chart). Your doctor will shine a light in your eye and flip the lenses. Based on how the light reflects on your retina, the doctor will be able to calculate your refractive error.

Slit-Lamp Examination

A slit-lamp examination uses a microscope with a light attached, which allows the eye doctor to examine the structures at the front of the eye (cornea, iris and lens) under high magnification.

Glaucoma Testing

Glaucoma tests are performed to measure the pressure inside your eye. While there are a few variations of glaucoma tests, the most commonly used is the tonometer. A numbing drop with a special dye in it will be put in both eyes and using a chin rest to help stabilize your head, you will look straight ahead and the technician or doctor will measure the pressure in your eye. The procedure is quick and painless.

Retinal Examination

All of our complete eye examinations include a dilated fundus exam. Once the dilating drops have opened your pupils sufficiently, the doctor will use a special magnifying lens and a very bright light to look at the back of your eye (the retina). This test is used to look at conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma damage and many other retinal disorders. Everyone should have a dilated fundus exam at least every two years to evaluate the health of the retina.