What to Expect at an Eye Exam

During an eye test, your eye specialist will use medical instruments and bright lights to look into your eyes. During a yearly eye exam, your eye specialist will monitor your vision for changes and check for eye problems.

What is a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

During a comprehensive eye exam, the doctor will check your eye anatomy and your overall eye health. A comprehensive eye exam may also include a dilated pupillary exam and a slit lamp exam.

A dilated pupillary exam allows the doctor to check the health of the optic nerve and retina. The doctor may dilate your eyes to check for retinal problems or cataracts.

A slit lamp exam allows the doctor to check for any abnormalities or diseases.

After the exam, your eye specialist will discuss the results with you. If you need corrective lenses, your eye specialist will provide an eyewear prescription. If tests reveal abnormal results, your doctor will mention the next steps for further testing and treatment.

Did you know that Advantage Dental+ locations in Alabama provide eye exams for children? Learn more about our vision services for pediatric patients in Alabama.

What is a Contact Lens Fitting?

If you wish to wear corrective contact lenses, your eye specialist may perform a contact lens exam. The doctor will check your overall eye health, visual acuity, and depth perception before prescribing contact lenses. A contact lens exam may include a corneal topography exam and a tear film evaluation, in addition to tests performed during a comprehensive eye exam.

A corneal topography exam allows the doctor to detect signs of corneal diseases and irregular corneal conditions such as:

  • Abrasions
  • Deformities
  • Irregular astigmatisms
  • Scarring
  • Swelling

A tear film evaluation allows the doctor to check how long your tear film (the layer of tears on your eyes) lasts after you blink your eyes. If the tear film does not last for a set length of time, you may have a condition referred to as dry eye, which can impact whether you can wear contact lenses safely or not.

If the doctor determines that you can safely wear contact lenses, they will show you how to insert and remove your contacts and offer advice about how to care for them.

*(Contact lens fitting is not available at Advantage Dental+ Oral Health and Vision Center Practices)

Does Getting an Eye Test Hurt?

Eye exams aren't usually painful, but certain tests may be slightly uncomfortable. The doctor will shine a bright light on your eyes and ask you to look through a variety of lenses. During a non-contact eye pressure test, you may feel a gentle puff of air reach your eyes. Routine eye exams are important to maintaining your overall health and wellness.

Vision Examination FAQs

How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam?

Most optometrists recommend a yearly comprehensive eye exam.

Should You Bring Your Existing Prescription Eyewear to the Appointment?

Yes, bring your eyeglasses or contact lenses with you. Your eye specialist will check your lens prescription to ensure it is still accurate and healthy for your eyes.

Should I Bring Sunglasses to an Eye Appointment?

If you're having a comprehensive eye exam, including pupil dilation, bring sunglasses to wear after the exam. Your pupils will be dilated, which will make it difficult to see clearly and bright lights may temporarily cause blurred vision. Also, it's a good idea to have a friend accompany you to the appointment and drive you home.

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Gary Allen, DMD, Advantage Dental Group, P.C. | James Thommes, DDS, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Massachusetts, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health And Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Oklahoma, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Texas, P.C. | Cory White, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | John Clasen, OD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | Neil Williams, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Florida, PA