What Happens at an Eye Exam?

Doctor’s visits make many people anxious. Knowing what to expect can sometimes quell the jitters prior to a doctor’s appointment.  Understanding the procedures, instruments, and surroundings can help.  So, what happens during an eye exam?  How long does the check-up take?  What procedures can you expect from your annual eye doctors visit?

In the interest of making all patients feel comfortable and relaxed about visiting an optometrist let’s look at what a routine visit would look like.

  • Check In – After checking in at the front desk where a helpful staff member will gather all the necessary insurance forms and patient information, you can wait in the comfort of a cozy waiting area.
  • History and Symptoms – Once you are in the doctor’s exam room the first thing that will probably happen will be a discussion of your medical history and any symptoms you may be experiencing. Knowing your general health background and history with glasses and/or contacts help give a good foundation of information to the doctor. If you are experiencing problems with your eyes or vision your optometrist will need to know what symptoms you have, how long you have had them and whether any changes have happened suddenly or slowly over a period of time.
  • The Exam – Once all background history has been taken the doctor will want to exam both the inside and outside of your eye.  The interior of your eye will be examined using an ophthalmoscope, a special torch which shines a light through the pupil allowing a detailed study of the internal structures. Your pupil reflexes will also be tested. Your vision will be measured both with and without glasses or lenses to check for any problems with your eyesight. He/she will be checking both your near and far vision. In addition to checking internal and external structures, the doctor will check eye movements and coordination to make sure that both eyes are working together
  • Length – The average doctors appointment takes about 30 minutes depending upon the situation and any problems that the patient is having.
  • After the exam – Once the doctor has completed the exam, you may find that he would like to see you back in a certain amount of time, ask for further tests or even decide on the need for glasses or contacts.  This will be determined during the exam and will be thoroughly discussed with you.

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