Here's What Your Ophthalmologist Is Looking for During Your Eye Exam

Like most people, you may only think you need to see the ophthalmologist if you wear glasses or you’re no longer able to read without holding your book at arm’s length. But a comprehensive eye exam is more than a vision test. It’s a physical examination of your eye that assesses both health and function.

At University Ophthalmology, our experienced ophthalmologists Veena Arun, M.D. and Varun Kartan Pawar, M.D., want you to know what they’re looking for during your eye exam so you can better understand its importance to your overall health and vision needs. 

Vision care needs

Yes, assessing your vision is an important component of your comprehensive eye exam. But it’s more than just reading the eye chart across the room. We conduct many tests that not only assess the clarity of your vision, but also your depth perception and how well your eyes work individually and together. 

Some of the vision tests we may perform include:

Visual acuity test

The visual acuity test is the eye chart test and determines the sharpness of your vision from far away and close up.

Eye cover test

The eye cover test looks for misalignment conditions such as strabismus and amblyopia, which can affect future vision needs.

Eye movement test

The eye movement test assesses how well your eyes track an object. Issues with eye-tracking may cause eye strain and make reading or playing sports more difficult.

Stereopsis test

To assess normal depth perception, we conduct a stereopsis test. Your visual depth perception gives you the ability to tell the difference between what’s close and what’s far away. 

Refraction assessment

The refraction assessment is the test that determines your eyeglasses prescription needs. During the test, a series of lenses are placed in front of your eyes as you read the eye chart across the room. We may only perform this test if you wear or need glasses.

We also assess how your pupils react to light.

The health of your eye

In addition to your vision, we also conduct a type of physical exam of your eye to assess their health and screen for eye conditions. To get a better look at the various components of your eye, we use a tool called a slit lamp, which allows us to evaluate your cornea, iris, lens, and the back of your eye at a high magnification.

We may also conduct a retinal exam using a tool called an ophthalmoscope, which allows us to evaluate your retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels. We have to dilate your pupils before we can perform this test. The ophthalmoscope also gives us an opportunity to assess the fluids in your eye. 

Risk of eye conditions

The reason we conduct so many tests during your comprehensive eye exam is to screen for eye conditions that may affect your vision. Some of the conditions we screen for include:

Depending on your age and risk factors, we may also test for glaucoma, which is an eye condition that leads to vision loss due to the buildup of fluids and pressure in the eye that damages your optic nerve. Any damage to your optic nerve cannot be repaired. However, diagnosing and treating glaucoma early may help prevent damage to the optic nerve and thereby also prevent vision changes. 

Regular visits to see us are as important as your visits to your primary care provider and dentist. We recommend an annual eye exam if you wear glasses, have an eye condition, or you’re over the age of 65. If you’re healthy and don’t wear glasses, you should still get your eyes tested for conditions that may not be symptomatic. 

If you live in or around Chicago, IL schedule your comprehensive eye exam at University Ophthalmology, by contacting our office today. 

We are excited to help you see better!

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