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Prepare for your eye test checklist:

+ When calling to make an appointment for an eye exam, describe any vision problem you're having.

+ Before your appointment make a list of questions for the optician. Be prepared to discuss any drugs you're taking and your (and your family's) eye health history

+ On the day remember to take your glasses and/or contact lenses.


What will happen during your eye exam?

Before your eye exam (if you’re a new patient) the optician will take a medical and vision history.

As an adult you will likely have all or most of the following eye tests as standard (if you choose the enhanced option you may also have more specialised eye tests, like the ophthalmic imaging), with children not all of the tests below will be required:

Eye muscle movement test. This will test the eyes muscle strength and control. You will then be asked to visually track a target in different directions and he will observe your eye movements.

Cover test. This is a check for how well your eyes work together. As you stare at a small target some distance away, the optician will cover and uncover each eye to observe how much your eyes move, watching for an eye that turns away from the target (known as a strabismus). The test may be repeated with a target close to you.

External exam and pupillary reactions. The Optician will watch your pupils reacting to light and objects at a close distance. At the same time the optician will check the exterior eye, looking at things such as the condition of the white of the eyes and the position of your eyelids.

Visual acuity test. You will sit in front of an eye chart, with letters that get smaller as you read down each line. You cover each eye in turn and, using the other eye, read aloud, going down the chart, until you can't read the letters anymore.

Retinoscopy. The optician will put a trial frame on you and may shine a light into your eyes  while changing lenses that you look through while staring at a large target, such as a big "E". This test is based on the principle of checking the way light reflects with your eyes.

Refraction. For your exact lens prescription, the optician will fine-tune the prescription manually by asking you to respond to questions such as, "Which is better, with this or that?" while flipping back and forth between different lenses. If you don't need corrective lenses, you won't have this test.


Slit-lamp (biomicroscope). The slit lamp magnifies and lights up the front of your eye. The optician would use this test to detect several eye diseases and disorders by examining your cornea, iris, lens, and anterior chamber. This test is also usedwhen fitting you with contact lenses.

Retinal examination (ophthalmoscopy). Using an ophthalmoscope (and sometimes pupil dilation) the optician will examine the back of your eyes: retina, retinal blood vessels, vitreous, and optic nerve head.

Glaucoma testing. This tests whether the fluid pressure inside your eyes is within a normal range. This test takes just a few seconds and is painless. It will be carried out with a puff of air or probe.

Pupil dilation (enlargement). If this test is needed the optician will apply drop to yours eyes which usually take around 20 minutes to work. With your pupils fully enlarged, the optician will examine the inside of your eyes with different instruments and lights. With your eyes dilated it will make your eyes more sensitive to light and blurring your vision. These effects may last for several hours. This is usually carried out on patients with diabetes.

Visual field test (perimetry). This is the area you can see without moving your eyes. The opticiani will "map" what you see at the edges (periphery) of your visual field, this map then helps in diagnosing your eye condition.