The American Optometric Association recommends that everyone have a yearly eye exam. The purpose of an eye exam is to assess the health of your eyes, diagnose any conditions that may need to be addressed, and to determine if any corrective lenses are needed. Poor eyesight tends to come on so gradually that most people are not aware that they are not seeing as well as they should. Even if you have 20/20 vision there could be other health issues affecting your eyes that could become serious if left untreated.
Before you schedule an appointment, you may be wondering: how long does an eye exam take? Having a general idea of the timeframe will help you when it comes to planning enough time for your appointment.
Average Length of a Routine Eye Exam
On average you can expect your eye exam to take less than an hour. Most yearly eye exams for existing patients range from 45-60 minutes, but your first appointment could take a bit longer. At your first appointment you’ll need to fill out new patient paperwork and provide your insurance information. Getting glasses for the first time or a new pair of frames could mean you spend more time overall at the eye doctor. But in most cases you should spend no less than an hour from the time you arrive until you leave.
What Does an Eye Exam Entail?
The following are typical steps in a routine eye exam:
- Medical history. If you are a new patient, your eye doctor will want to get your complete medical history, including any medications you take regularly. Each year when you return, you will be asked if anything has changed about your medical history since you were last there for an exam, including any medication changes.
- Eye health. An assessment of your eye health will be conducted, including tests for glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, or retinal detachment. These are some of the most common eye conditions that occur in patients. In many cases they can be treated if they are diagnosed and addressed early.
- Visual acuity. This is the reading of the chart on the wall. There are typically rows of letters in varying sizes that help to determine how well you see from a distance. For small children who don’t yet know letters, symbols or pictures may be used.
- Eye focusing and eye teaming tests. The purpose of these tests is to determine how well your eyes are able to focus on images or objects that are close up and far away. This test also involves covering one eye at a time and reading a wall chart to determine how well your eyes focus both together and separately.
- Refraction. This portion of the exam is used to determine what prescription you need for glasses or contacts if you are not able to see with 20/20 accuracy. Your eye doctor will put varying corrective lenses in front of your eyes and ask you to read a chart on the wall or determine whether or not the letters are easier to read with corrective lenses.
- Choosing glasses. If you need corrective lenses, even if you plan to wear contacts most of the time, it is usually a good idea to have a backup pair of glasses. Contacts can sometimes irritate your eyes after long periods of wear, and switching to glasses can give them important rest time. Many patients switch to glasses in the evenings for reading or watching TV.
Andrews Eyecare Center Provides Comprehensive Eye Health Services
Whether or not you require corrective lenses or not, it is still important to have a yearly eye exam to assess the health of your eyes. Sight is one of the most crucial of all of your five senses. It is easy to take it for granted. Most common eye conditions can be treated when diagnosed early, preserving your vision.