Comprehensive Eye Exams

Comprehensive-Eye--Exams-376842715A comprehensive eye exam is relatively simple and comfortable and can take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes. The exam should include checks on the following:

  • Your medical history. First, your eye doctor will ask you for an assessment of your vision and your overall health. Your family's medical history, whether you wear corrective lenses or whether you are on any medication will also be of interest to your ophthalmologist.
  • Your visual acuity. This is the part of an eye exam people are probably most familiar with. Your ophthalmologist will ask you to read a standardized eye chart to determine how well you see at various distances. The test is performed on one eye at a time by covering the eye not being tested.
  • Your pupils. Your doctor may evaluate how your pupils respond to light by shining a bright beam of light through your pupils. Common pupillary reaction to this stimulus is to constrict (become smaller). If your pupils respond by dilating (widening) or there is a lack of response either way, this may indicate an underlying problem.
  • Your side vision. Loss of side vision is a symptom of glaucoma. Because you may lose side vision without knowing it, this test can identify eye problems that you aren't even aware of.
  • Your eye movement. This test, called ocular motility, evaluates the movement of your eyes. Your ophthalmologist will want to ensure proper eye alignment and ocular muscle function. Common tests measure the eyes and their ability to move quickly in all directions and slowly track objects.
  • The Refraction. You will be seated and asked to view an eye chart through a device called a phoroptor, which contains different lenses. The phoroptor can help determine the best eyeglass or contact lens prescription to correct any refractive error you may have, such as myopia. This test is also how your eye doctor can best determine the best possible visual acuity and function of your eye, which is essential medical information that is needed by your eye doctor in order to assess your eyes and look for problems.
  • Your eye pressure. This test, called tonometry, measures the pressure within your eye (intraocular eye pressure, or IOP). Elevated IOP is a sign of glaucoma. The test may involve a quick puff of air onto the eye, or gently applying a pressure-sensitive tip near or against your eye. Your ophthalmologist may use numbing drops for this test for your comfort.
  • The front part of your eye. A type of microscope called a slit lamp is used to illuminate the front part of the eye, including the eyelids, cornea, iris and lens. This can reveal whether you are developing cataracts or have any scars or scratches on your cornea.
  • Your retina and optic nerve. Your ophthalmologist will put drops in your eye to dilate, or widen, your eye. This will allow him or her to thoroughly examine your retina and optic nerve, located at the back of your eye, for signs of damage from disease. Your eyes might be temporarily sensitive to light for a few hours after they are dilated.

Your ophthalmologist may suggest additional testing to further examine your eye using specialized imaging techniques such as OCT, topography or fundus photos. These tests can be crucial in diagnosing a disease in its early stages and allow your doctor to detect abnormalities in the back of the eye, on the eye's surface or inside the eye.

Each part of the comprehensive eye exam provides important information about the health of your eyes. Make sure that you are getting a complete examination as part of your commitment to your overall health.

What to Expect When Your Eyes Are Dilated

Your eye doctor will put a small amount of dilating eye drops into each of your eyes. It usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes for your pupils to fully open. Light-colored eyes (such as blue, green or hazel) will dilate faster than brown eyes.

While your eyes are dilated, your vision will be blurry. You will have trouble focusing on close objects. You also will be extra sensitive to bright light. If your eyes will be dilated for an exam or procedure, bring sunglasses with you. They will help with the glare and light sensitivity when you leave your appointment.

The effects of dilating eye drops last a few hours. Your eye doctor cannot tell you how blurry your vision will be and for how long. That depends on the type of dilating eye drop used and how your eyes react.

If you have any questions before or after a dilated eye exam or procedure, please call the office to speak to a doctor at 512-443-9715.

Howerton Eye Clinic, PLLC

  • Austin Office - 2610 South IH 35, Austin, TX 78704 Phone: (512) 443-9715 Fax: (512) 443-9845
  • Southwest Office - 5625 Eiger Rd., Suite 100, Austin, TX 78735 Phone: (512) 443-9715 Fax: (512) 443-9845
  • Kyle Office - 5401 FM 1626, Suite 365, Kyle, TX 78640 Phone: (512) 443-9715 Fax: (512) 443-9845

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