Your eye exam

Did you know that many common eye diseases have no early signs or symptoms? This is why your optometrist examines the tissues and structures inside your eye during an exam. They are looking for eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration, as well as tears in the retina, bleeding and tumours. The exam will take approximately 20 minutes.

The examination steps you can expect include:

Case history

You may be asked about your general health, medications, your work environment, hobbies, etc. You will also be asked to describe any vision problems you are be experiencing.

External eye examination

The external area around the eye will be examined to ensure that there are no abnormalities.

Internal eye examination

Using the slit lamp microscope and an ophthalmoscope, your optometrist will check your eyes for indications of abnormalities. Some problems detected during an internal eye examination may indicate possible disease, such as diabetes or hypertension. If your optometrist sees any of these warning signs, you will be referred to a physician for further examination.


This measures the fluid pressure in the eye and is an important test in detecting glaucoma.

Vision test

A number of tests are used to assess your vision.


Your doctor can determine the strength of your eyes using various lenses and the retinoscope. This is done without feedback from the patient and is an invaluable instrument for assessing the vision problems of children and others who may not be able to read an eye chart.

Visual acuity

Using the familiar wall chart and a hand-held charts, your doctor will assess your ability to see small detail clearly at both near and far distances. You may sit behind a phoropter, an instrument containing a combination of lenses. Lens choices are systematically changed until clear focus is obtained.

Eye movement

Your doctor will use a number of tests to evaluate how well your eyes align or coordinate when working together and individually.

Peripheral vision

Your doctor will evaluate how well you see targets that are not directly in front of you. Other tests may be undertaken to evaluate your ability to change focus, see colour correctly, or perceive depth correctly. Your optometrist will choose those tests required to adequately evaluate YOUR visual system.

A sight test does NOT tell the whole story

Other factors such as binocular vision (how your eyes work together) and accommodation (how well your eyes adjust their focus) also impact the spectacle prescription your optometrist gives you. You could develop eyestrain, headaches, or even double vision if these additional elements are not taken into proper consideration. Your optometrist may recommend vision therapy in addition to or instead of glasses or contact lenses.

A complete eye exam includes more than just a sight test to assess your prescription for glasses or contact lenses!

Regular visits to your optometrist are the best way to detect eye health problems, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma in time for effective treatment. These visits could also uncover serious overall health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes or thyroid disorders.

Your optometrist can prescribe medications.

Your optometrist can prescribe medication to treat or control certain eye conditions, infections or diseases such as bacterial conjunctivitis or pink eye. Infections or diseases like glaucoma and diabetes will NOT be detected by a sight test. Your eyes deserve protecting, don't settle for anything less than a complete eye examination by an optometrist.