Many people go to their eye doctor annually to have their vision checked. Your doctor asked you to read numbers or letters from a distance away to determine your visual acuity or how well you see. While this exam is the primary purpose many people have their eyes checked, your eye doctor usually performs several other tests while you are there. Here are a few tests you can expect at your next visit.
1. Visual Field Test
Some people who can see things clearly that are right in front of them may have difficulty seeing things that are off to either side without turning their heads or moving their eyes. The eye doctor will check your side or peripheral vision during your exam.
Most physicians will use a test called an auto perimeter. While looking into a machine, your physician will ask you to signal when you see light flashes. The lights will flash in different areas in your peripheral view.
If your doctor suspects you do not have perfect vision, they may perform a retinoscopy to see what type of vision correction your eyes need. They perform this test by having you rest your chin on the edge of a phoropter and asking you to stare straight ahead. While looking at a line of numbers, your doctor will flip through a series of lenses until they find the right combination that provides the best correction.
3. Glaucoma Test
Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. It is a disease that damages your optic nerve caused by a build-up of fluid, or aqueous humor, in the front of your eye. Once this fluid builds up and does not properly drain, it applies pressure and damages your optic nerve. Fortunately, your eye doctor can treat it if caught early during an eye exam.
One of the most common ways your eye doctor will test for glaucoma is by measuring your intraocular pressure. The test uses a tonometer, injecting a puff of air directly into your eye and checking its pressure.
If you go to your doctor's office, and they use special eye drops to dilate your eyes, you will then wait a few minutes for your eyes to dilate. The dilation of your eyes allows your doctor to look at several parts of your eyes, including your cornea, optic nerve, lens, and retina.
Even if you feel like you have perfect vision, do not forgo your eye exams. Early detection and diagnosis of eye diseases can address many preventable conditions.