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The Explanations Behind the Tests Eye Doctors Do During Exams

October 27, 2017

In order to maintain optimal eye health, it’s important to have your eyes examined once a year. Regular eye exams will catch problems you may not know you have. Unlike other parts of the body, the eye doesn’t necessarily hurt when something’s wrong.

There are a number of things your eye doctor will do to test your eyes. You may have had an eye exam before, and left wondering what certain parts of it were all about. Here are some explanations to help you make sense of the tests your eye doctor will perform during your eye exam.

The Puff of Air

Have you ever wondered why it’s so important that your eye doctor send a burst of air into your eye? Seems kind of weird, right? Well, it’s actually testing the pressure in your eye. The technical name for the “puff-of-air” test is a non-contact tonometry. You rest your chin on the machine’s chin rest while looking at a light inside the machine. The machine measures your intraocular pressure. If the pressure is high, you may be at risk for developing glaucoma, the second leading cause for blindness in the world.

Dilating Eye Drops

The most common diseases of the eye have no symptoms. A dilated eye exam can help identify if you have or are at risk for developing any of these diseases. Dilating eye drops allow your eye doctor to thoroughly examine the health of the inside of your eyes. The drops cause your pupils to become larger, allowing more light into the eye. Once your eyes have fully dilated, which can take up to 20 or 30 minutes, your eye doctor will look inside your eyes using special lenses.

Lens Flipping

The test for determining what prescription you will need is called refraction. This test involves a phoropter machine which houses many different lenses. Your ophthalmologist will switch back and forth between the lenses, asking you to identify if the lens helps you see better or worse. This test is fairly subjective, relying on patient responses but technology is always advancing. At OCLI we combine the subjective refraction with tests that do not rely on your subjective input to determine a more accurate final refraction.

Ishihara Plates

What in the world are Ishihara Plates? Named after a Japanese professor, these images are the most common test for red-green color blindness. The plates are made up of tiny colored circles that show a number. The number can only be read by people who aren’t color blind. The test is great for determining if you may be color blind but not great at determining how severe the color blindness might be. You can see an image of Ishihara Plates here in this post.

Regular eye exams are an important step in maintaining optimal eye health. Not only do they help detect things that aren’t noticeable without an exam, but they can also help provide insights into other conditions such as diabetes. If you haven’t had your eye exam yet this year contact OCLI to set up an appointment today.

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