What to Expect During and After Your First Eye Exam

Dec 01, 2022
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You depend on your eyes every day, all day long. Regular eye exams help you maintain clear vision and avoid serious vision and eye problems, especially as you get older. Here’s what you can expect from your eye exam.

Millions of American adults suffer from vision problems, and regular eye exams are one of the best ways to spot these problems — and treat them — early. Vision and eye issues can happen at any age, but like a lot of other medical problems, some are more common as we age.

At I & B Medical Associates, our team performs comprehensive eye exams for men and women in Miami, Florida. If you’ve never had an eye exam or it’s been some time since your last exam, here’s a quick overview of what you can expect. 

Eye exam basics

Eye exams involve evaluations of your vision and eye health to identify issues so they can be treated in their earliest stages. 

Visual acuity

Most people are familiar with the eye exam that asks you to read the letters from an eye chart (called a Snellen chart). This test measures visual acuity — how clearly you can see at various distances. 

You may perform the test while covering one eye at a time. Your provider might also use a phoropter, a device that prompts you to look through different lenses to help determine if you need glasses.

Color vision

This simple test for color blindness asks you to look for numbers or letters hidden within a grouping of colored dots. People who are color blind typically can’t see the hidden images.

Peripheral vision

Your peripheral vision test measures how far you can see to either side without moving your head. This exam is also called a visual field test.

Glaucoma test

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve at the back of your eye. Most cases of glaucoma happen when pressure inside your eye increases, compressing the nerve. This test painlessly and noninvasively measures that pressure to determine if it’s elevated.

Slit lamp

A slit lamp is an instrument with a bright light and a powerful magnifying lens. Your provider moves the light slowly in front of your eye while evaluating its internal structures.

Corneal mapping

Also called corneal topography, this exam takes hundreds of measurements of your cornea to create a highly detailed map of the surface of your eye. This exam is for people who wear contact lenses and conditions that affect the corneas.

Other evaluations assess how well your eyes and eye muscles work together. These assessments can identify potential weaknesses that interfere with normal vision.

After your exam

Eye exam evaluations are noninvasive and painless. What happens after your appointment depends on whether dilating eye drops are used during your exam.

Your pupils are openings in your eye that allow your provider to see the light-sensitive retina at the back of your eye. Many eye diseases can be diagnosed by looking for changes in this part of your eye. 

Pupils react to light, so when your provider shines a light in your eye to look at your retina, the pupil opening shrinks, making it pretty much impossible to see the inside of your eye. Dilating eye drops widen your pupils and keep them wide. 

Once the drops take effect, your provider can see clearly into the inside portion of your eye, including your retina.

After your eye exam, it can take a few hours for the effects of the drops to wear off. During that time, your up-close vision is blurry and your eyes are sensitive to light. Wear dark lenses during this time to protect your eyes. After the effects wear off, your vision returns to normal.

Keep your eyes healthy

Eye exams are essential to helping you maintain your vision and eye health. Need another reason? An eye exam can help identify other diseases too. 

Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions can all cause changes in your eyes, even before you notice symptoms elsewhere.

Ready to give your eyes the love they deserve? Call 786-321-2399 or book an eye exam appointment online at I & B Medical Associates today.