December 19, 2018
  • Information is Everything

Kinds of Tests You’ll Encounter During Routine Eye Care Exams

During Routine Eye Care

Are you having trouble seeing up close or far away? Maybe you’ve noticed things are not as clear as they used to be. Whatever your concern may be, routine eye care exams can detect eye problems early on, so consider making an appointment with an eye care specialist today.

Comprehensive eye exams are recommended every 1-2 years and are performed by trained optometrists or ophthalmologists in an office setting. Your eye doctor will conduct a detailed medical history and review any vision-related problems. To appropriately evaluate the patient, several routine eye tests will be performed. Some of the most common ones are described below.

Visual Acuity

Visual acuity testing is performed to evaluate how the eye perceives things at a specified distance. During this test, you will be asked to read the smallest group of letters you can on a Snellen Eye Chart positioned 20 feet in front of you. A smaller hand-held card may also be used.

Normal visual acuity is defined as 20/20 vision. Compare this to a person with 20/200 vision, which is classified as impaired vision, because they can see an object clearly at 20 feet that a person with normal visual acuity can see at 200 feet.


Tonometry testing is used to measure internal eye pressure, most commonly referred to as intraocular pressure (IOP). This test is used to evaluate patients for glaucoma, which results in a progressive loss of peripheral vision. A small puff of air is administered to each eye separately to get a baseline measurement. An eye pressure reading of greater than 22 millimeters of mercury is considered abnormal and may be an early warning sign for glaucoma or other problematic eye conditions.

Color Blind Test

A color vision test may also be performed. The examiner will ask you to look at several pictures to determine what you can and cannot see in the corresponding sections.

Confrontation Visual Fields

Confrontation testing is another routine eye test used to evaluate peripheral vision or the 180-degree field of vision that gives us a sense of what’s going on around us. The eye doctor assesses a patient’s visual field by having them cover one eye and instructing them to focus on the examiner’s eye directly in front of them with their other eye.The patient will then be asked to identify how many fingers they can see to the side, up, and down without moving their eyes.  This test is used to detect certain eye disorders that may go unnoticed.


Refraction testing is usually administered during routine eye care exams, especially if the results of the visual acuity test were abnormal. A manual or computerized piece of equipment will be used to determine your glasses or contact lenses prescription. The eye doctor will show you multiple lens selections to determine what combination gives you the clearest vision.

Slit lamp microscope evaluation 

Every comprehensive eye examination will include an evaluation with a slit lamp microscope. The eye doctor will ask you to rest your chin and forehead in the designated areas while they shine a bright light into each eye. This magnifies different structures in the front and back of the eye, i.e., conjunctiva, cornea, eyelids, iris, lens, optic nerve, retina, and sclera, to identify potential problems areas.


Your eye doctor may put eye drops in your eyes to dilate or widen your pupils. This makes it easier to visualize certain structures located at the back of the eye, i.e., blood vessels, macula, optic nerve, and retina. After waiting 5-10 minutes for the drops to take effect, the doctor will use an ophthalmoscope or a slit lamp microscope to examine the posterior structures and note any abnormalities. Since your pupils will remain dilated for several hours after the test, you will be encouraged to wear sunglasses upon leaving your appointment.  It’s completely normal for your near vision to appear blurry for some time as well.


Vison health is often overlooked these days, but it can be just as important as your annual physical. Regular eye exams can ensure your eyes stay healthy for all of life’s must-see moments.