How to Prepare for an Eye Exam

Our eyes are said to be the windows to our souls, so it should be important to take very good care of them, which is why everyone should know how to properly prepare for an eye exam.

Consisting of a series of tests, an eye exam is intended to evaluate your overall vision and to check for any eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

The Eye ‘Doctor’

There are three types of eye care specialists who perform eye exams: ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians.

Ophthalmologists are actual medical doctors and can offer a full range of eye care, including complete eye exams, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing and treating eye diseases and performing eye surgery.

Optometrists can perform many of the same services as ophthalmologists, such as evaluating a patient’s vision, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing common eye disorders and treating some eye diseases. However, an optometrist might refer a patient to an ophthalmologist if a more complex problem might exist or if surgery is needed.

Opticians are able to fill prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Q and A

The first thing to expect when having an eye exam is to answer specific questions about your vision history. In preparing for the exam, you should take a moment to review how you would answer the following questions:

  • Are you currently experiencing any eye problems?
  • Have you experienced any eye problems in the past?
  • Were you born prematurely? (Premature infants have demonstrated an increased risk for the development of certain eye diseases later in life.)
  • Do you wear prescriptive eye glasses or contacts? If so, are you satisfied with your current vision while wearing them?
  • Have you experienced any seemingly non-eye-related health problems in recent years?
  • Are you currently taking any medications?
  • Are you allergic to any medications, food or other substances?
  • Have any of your family members experienced eye problems, such as cataracts or glaucoma?
  • Does anyone in your family have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or any other health problem that affects the entire body? (Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease have been shown to increase one’s risk of developing eye problems.)

In addition to being prepared to answer such questions, you will want to bring your eyeglasses or contact lenses with you if you wear either. In addition, you will be unable to wear your contact lenses for some of the exams, such as tests that use an orange dye called fluorescein that can permanently stain your lenses.

The Exam Itself

After reviewing your vision and health history, the eye doctor will check your eyes using a special light. This light assists the doctor in identifying any possible problems in the exterior parts of the eyes. Next, the doctor will measure your visual acuity, or your clearness of vision, to determine whether or not you need glasses. During the final stage of the exam, the doctor will examine your eyes to look for signs of ocular disease.

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