5 Basic Types of Eye Tests That Are Part of an Eye Exam

At least 2.2 billion people have impaired vision worldwide, and one billion of these cases were preventable or have not yet been addressed.

The importance of an eye exam should not be underestimated. Whether or not you suffer from near or far-sightedness, eye exams can be of benefit.

Eye exams are essential to eye care. They can help prevent and treat impaired vision and eye conditions, and they can also help detect a variety of other health problems.

Read on to learn about the different types of eye tests and how they help diagnose and treat eye problems.

1. Visual Acuity Test

The visual acuity test is typically known to most people as the eye chart test.

With a visual acuity test, the eye doctor will ask you to read a line of letters from an eye chart. You will read the chart twice, using one eye at a time.

Your ability to read the letters helps determine the vision level of each eye.

2. Slit-Lamp Exam

In a slit-lamp exam, the eye doctor will look through a microscope called a slit lamp with intense light to get a better view of your eye. This allows the optometrist to examine your cornea, iris, lens, and anterior chamber.

The optometrist may use eye drops containing a fluorescein dye to make it easier to spot small cuts, scrapes, tears, objects, or infections on the cornea.

3. Visual Field Test

Visual field tests help check your direct and peripheral vision.

There are various types of eye tests used to check a person’s visual field, but the most common is done with an autoperimeter. An autoperimeter is a bowl-shaped machine that flashes small lights.

The optometrist will instruct you to stare at a spot in the center and press a button every time a light flashes in your peripheral vision.

4. Visual Refraction Test

In a visual refraction test, you will be instructed to look through a phoropter—a thick machine with numerous lenses and dials—at the eye chart in front of you.

You will stare through a series of lens pairs to test if you are nearsighted, farsighted, affected by astigmatism, or have normal vision. The eye doctor will switch between two lens pairs at a time and ask which one you can see clearest through.

This test helps determine your optimal lens prescription.

5. Retinoscopy

A retinoscopy is another test that uses the phoropter to find your lens prescription.

The optometrist will instruct you to focus on a prominent object in front of you, like the big “E” on the top row of the eye chart. The eye doctor will then shine a light in your eyes to see how the light will affect your eyes when using different lenses.

Protect Your Vision Through the Different Types of Eye Tests

There are many types of eye tests to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions, not just vision impairment.

Eye exams are essential to diagnose and treat eye and other health conditions, potentially preventing the beginnings of a serious condition from getting worse.

If you are experiencing any concerns or problems with your vision, do not hesitate to schedule an eye exam with us today.


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