What to Expect During Your Eye Exam

The eye exam portion of your appointment includes several steps. This overview will tell you what happens from start to finish of the exam.

Once you’ve finished your pretest and we’ve gathered some basic information about your vision and eye health, you’ll meet with a caring and knowledgeable optometrist.

Here’s a closer look at the different steps of the eye exam.

Slit Lamp

Your optometrist will take a closer look at your eyes using a device called a slit lamp. It’s a combination microscope and light that gives your doctor a magnified view of several parts of your eyes.

Your doctor will look at your eyes through the magnifying lenses, shining the light into different areas. You’ll be aware that there’s a bright light, but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable.

Your doctor can learn a lot from this exam.

Doctors can see and detect:

Your doctor will look at one eye at a time and should be done with the slit lamp exam in a few minutes.

Eye checkups are an essential part of your health care routine. Find an exam time that fits your schedule!

Refraction: Phoropter Test

Next, your doctor will use your pretest results as a starting point for fine-tuning your prescription. During this phoropter test, also known as a refraction, the doctor evaluates one eye at a time.

You’ll read an eye chart that’s 20 feet away and has rows of capital letters. (Some charts have numbers or pictures of objects instead. Learn more about the history and different types of eye charts here.)

Your doctor will have you look through two different lenses and ask you which one gives you clearer vision. Based on your answer, your doctor will try two more lenses, and will keep refining until they’ve determined the prescription that gets you as close to 20/20 vision as possible.

After these simple, painless tests, you’ll be well on your way to better vision!

Recommended reading:

4 Things Your Optometrist Needs to Know About Your Health

America’s Best Guide to Eye Exams