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Aside from sleeping, you use your eyesight for nearly every activity you do, from reading to driving to surfing the Internet. And because your eyesight plays such an important role in your daily life, you need to protect your eye health. You can achieve that goal by making regular eye exam appointments at your optometrist’s office.
At an eye appointment, you can expect to undergo several basic tests. Learn about the most common eye tests so you know what to expect at your next optometrist visit.
VISUAL ACUITY TEST
This test is probably what you think of when you picture yourself at the eye doctor. Using one eye at a time, you’ll read letters from a sign that is positioned a specific distance away from you. Your optometrist uses your responses to determine how each eye’s vision level compares to standard 20/20 vision.
When you imagine an eye appointment, do you picture yourself looking into a thick instrument with numerous lenses and dials? That machine is called a phoropter, and your optometrist uses it to conduct a retinoscopy.
A retinoscopy allows the optometrist to approximate your optimal lens prescription. As you gaze through the phoropter, the eye doctor flips different lenses in front of your eyes. You focus on a prominent object in front of you (often the “E” on the top row of an eye chart). The optometrist shines a light into your eyes and watches how the light affects your eyes with different lenses.
Along with a retinoscopy, a refraction test determines your eyeglass prescription. You also gaze into the phoropter and look at the eye chart on the opposite wall during this vision test.
Throughout the test you see a series of lens pairs. The optometrist repeatedly asks you which of two lens options lets you see more clearly. Based on your answers, the optometrist determines whether your eyes are nearsighted, farsighted, or affected by astigmatism. This test may also show that you don’t need prescription vision correction.