3 Types Of Eye Exams Explained

Posted on: 27 February 2017

While most people are familiar with the eye chart test that optometrists use to test visual acuity, this is only one of many ways that your eye doctor will examine your vision. Here is an explanation of three types of eye exams that your optometrist will use to assess your vision.

Cover Test

Ocular misalignment describes a condition in which both of the patients' eyes cannot fixate on one object at a same time. The most common method for diagnosing this condition is known as the cover test. Your optometrist will cover one eye and ask you to focus on an object with the other eye. The cover is then removed and moved to your other eye. By observing how much the previously covered eye has to move to focus on the object, your optometrist can determine whether or not your eyes are properly aligned.

Visual Field Test

The visual field test is used to analyze the sensitivity of your peripheral vision. If your optometrist suspects a problem with your peripheral vision, he will usually begin with a confrontation visual field test. In this test, the optometrist covers one eye at a time and asks you to focus on a set point. The optometrist will then hold up his fingers or an image at the edge of your vision and ask you what you see, moving closer to the center of your view until you can provide an accurate description.

For a more precise examination of your peripheral vision, an automated perimetry test can be used. The patient rests their head on a chin rest on the open side of a perimetry machine. A light is turned on in the center of the patient's view to provide a focal point, and lights are flashed near the edges of the patient's view. The patient responds when he sees a flash, and the machine creates a detailed analysis about blind spots in the patient's peripheral vision.

Slit Lamp Exam

For a detailed examination of the inner structures of your eye, your optometrist will use a slit lamp test. A slit lamp is a microscope-like instrument with a chin rest for the patient to rest their head and binoculars for the optometrist to examine the eyes. The machine shines a light into your eyes to examine the lens, iris, retina, and other major structures of the eye. A slit lamp is one of the most effective methods for diagnosing a wide range of eye diseases.

Be sure to visit your eye doctor if you are experiencing any eye pain or visual abnormalities so you can receive an accurate analysis of your overall visual health.