Getting an eye exam is relatively routine; most people don’t question what’s being done or when their appointments are. But what are we testing for when we do those necessary vision tests? And how often should you be getting checked? Find out the answers to those questions and more here.

When should you get an eye exam?

People should get eye exams regularly throughout childhood and then more sparingly in adulthood. Adults should be sure to get a complete eye exam at age 40 – sooner if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or any family history of eye disease. Seniors aged 65 or older should have their eyes checked around once a year for age-related diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, or glaucoma. If at any point you suspect you have an eye infection, your eye is injured, or you have eye pain, you should schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist immediately. If you have diabetes or a family history of eye disease, consult your ophthalmologist for how often your eyes should be examined.

What are the basic vision tests?

Several different types of vision tests are performed at your eye exam. The one most people think of first is the vision acuity test. In the vision acuity test, you read an eye chart to determine how well you see at various distances. One eye will be covered while the other is tested. Testing each eye independently determines whether or not you have 20/20 vision.

In a refraction test, the doctor will ask you to look at an eye chart through a phoropter machine. The phoropter contains different lenses and, depending on which lenses provide you the clearest view, this test helps the doctor determine which prescription strength is best for you.

How do you test for glaucoma?

One test that is administered to help diagnose glaucoma is an eye pressure test. Elevated eye pressure is often a sign of glaucoma. This test consists of blowing a quick puff of air onto your eye or gently applying a pressure-sensitive tip on or near your eye. Your ophthalmologist may give you numbing eye drops to make you more comfortable during this test. Loss of peripheral vision is another potential symptom of glaucoma. You can lose peripheral vision without noticing so, when your doctor tests your peripheral vision, they may discover problems you weren’t aware of.

What are the eye tests for other diseases?

To test the front part of your eye for problems, your doctor will use a slit-lamp microscope. This microscope lights up the front of your eye, including your eyelids, cornea, iris, and lenses. Testing this way can detect cataracts, scars, or scratches on the cornea.

Testing your retina and optic nerve requires putting dilating eye drops in your eyes to widen the pupils. This allows your doctor to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage or disease. It’s important to note that your eyes may be sensitive to light for a few hours after this test due to pupil dilation.

No matter your eye care needs, Battin Eyecare has the resources to help you. We have full-time optometrists on staff and up-to-date technology to provide you with the best care possible. Whether you’re looking for a routine eye exam or something more involved, don’t hesitate to contact Battin Eyecare today.