Comprehensive Eye Exams

A comprehensive eye exam includes a number of tests and procedures to examine and evaluate the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to examine the health of the tissues inside of your eyes.

Eyecare experts recommend you have a complete eye exam every one to three years, depending on your age, risk factors, and physical condition.

All of our eye exams include the most technologically advanced procedures available, including:

  • Humphrey Matrix Visual Field

    Instead of checking peripheral vision by counting the Doctor’s fingers off to the side, this highly sophisticated instrument is proven to detect early peripheral vision loss due to glaucoma, stroke, and other neurological disorders. This procedure is included in all of our comprehensive eye exams.

  • iWellness SD OCT

    Similar to an MRI or CT scan for the eye, the iWellnessExam uses spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) to produce cross sectional images of the retinal layers which is sensitive area of the back of your eye in a matter of seconds.

  • Retinoscopy

    This test helps your doctor get a good approximation of your eyeglasses prescription. For retinoscopy, the room lights are dimmed and an instrument containing wheels of lenses (called a phoropter) is positioned in front of your eyes. You will be asked to look at an object across the room (usually the big “E” on the wall chart or screen) while your doctor shines a light from a hand-held instrument into your eyes from arm’s length and flips different lenses in front of your eyes.

    Based on the way the light reflects from your eye during this procedure, your doctor can get a very good idea of what your eyeglasses prescription should be. This test is especially useful for children and non-verbal patients who are unable to accurately answer the doctor’s questions.

  • Refraction

    This is the test your doctor uses to determine your exact eyeglasses prescription. During a refraction, the doctor puts the phoropter in front of your eyes and shows you a series of lens choices. He or she will then ask you which of the two lenses in each choice (“1 or 2,” “A or B,” for example) make the letters on the wall chart look clearer.

    Based on your answers, your doctor will determine the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism you have, and the eyeglass lenses required to correct these vision problems (which are called refractive errors).

  • Autorefractors and aberrometers

    Your eye doctor also may use an autorefractor or aberrometer to help determine your glasses prescription. With both devices, a chin rest stabilizes your head while you typically look at a pinpoint of light or other image.

    An autorefractor evaluates the way an image is focused on the retina, where vision processing takes place, without the need for you to say anything. This makes autorefractors especially useful when examining young children or people who may have difficulty with a regular (“subjective”) refraction. Automated refractions and subjective refractions are often used together during a comprehensive exam to determine your eyeglasses prescription.

    An aberrometer uses advanced wavefront technology to detect even obscure vision errors based on the way light travels through your eye.

  • Cover test

    While there are many ways for your eye doctor to check how your eyes work together, the cover test is the simplest and most common.

    During a cover test, the eye doctor will have you focus on a small object at distance and will then cover each of your eyes alternately while you stare at the target. As they do this, eye doctors observe how much each eye has to move when uncovered to pick up the fixation target. The test is then repeated as you focus on a near object.

    Cover tests can detect even very subtle misalignments that can interfere with your eyes working together properly (binocular vision) and cause amblyopia or “lazy eye.”

  • Slit-lamp examination

    The slit lamp is an instrument that the eye doctor uses to examine the health of your eyes. Also called a biomicroscope, the slit lamp gives your doctor a highly magnified view of the structures of the eye, including the lens behind the pupil, in order to thoroughly evaluate them for signs of infection or disease.

    The slit lamp is basically an illuminated binocular microscope that’s mounted on a table and includes a chin rest and head band to position the patient’s head properly. With the help of hand-held lenses, your doctor can also use the slit lamp to examine the retina (the light-sensitive inner lining of the back of the eye.)

  • Tonometry (glaucoma testing)

    Tonometry is the name for a variety of tests that can be performed to determine the pressure inside the eye. Elevated internal eye pressure can cause glaucoma, which is vision loss due to damage to the sensitive optic nerve in the back of the eye.

    The most common method used for tonometry is the “air puff” test – where an automated instrument discharges a small burst of air to the surface of your eye. Based on your eye’s resistance to the puff of air, the machine calculates the pressure inside your eye – called your intraocular pressure (IOP).

    Though the test itself can be startling, nothing but air touches your eye during this measurement and there’s no risk of eye injury from the air puff test.

  • Pupil dilation

    Your comprehensive exam may include the use of dilating drops. These medicated eye drops enlargen your pupil so your doctor can get a better view of the internal structures in the back of the eye. Dilating drops usually take about 20 minutes to start working. When your pupils are dilated, you will be sensitive to light, because more light is getting into your eye. You may also notice difficulty reading or focusing on close objects. These effects can last for up to several hours, depending on the strength of the drops used.

    If you don’t have sunglasses to wear after the exam, disposable sunglasses will be provided to help you drive home. Dilation is very important for people with risk factors for eye disease, because it allows for a more thorough evaluation of the health of the inside of your eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I have my eyes examined?

The AOA also recommends an annual eye exam for any adult who wears eyeglasses or contacts. If you don’t normally need vision correction, you still need an eye exam every two to three years up to the age of 40, depending on your rate of visual change and overall health. Doctors often recommend more frequent examinations for adults with diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders, because many diseases can have an impact on vision and eye health.

If you are over 40, it’s a good idea to have your eyes examined every one to two years to check for common age-related eye problems such as presbyopia, cataracts and macular degeneration.

Because the risk of eye disease continues to increase with advancing age, everyone over the age of 60 should be examined annually.

How much does an eye exam cost?

Eye exams are available in many settings, so the fees can vary widely. Generally speaking, contact lens exams cost more than regular eye exams. Likewise, an additional or higher fee may be charged for specialized services such as laser vision correction evaluations.

Many insurance plans cover at least a portion of eye exam services. Be sure to give your doctor’s office your insurance information to verify coverage.

What information should I take with me to my eye exam?

It’s important to have some basic information ready at the time of your eye examination. Bring the following items to your exam:

  • All eyeglasses and contact lenses you routinely use, including reading glasses.
  • A list of any medications you take (including dosages).
  • A list of any nutritional supplements you take (including dosages).
  • A list of questions to ask the doctor, especially if you are interested in contact lenses or laser vision correction surgery.

Finally, also bring your medical or vision insurance card if you will be using it for a portion of your fees.

Insurances Accepted

  • The Following Insurances Are Accepted at Eye-Q Optometry

    VSP, Medicare, EyeMed, Blue Shield of California, Sight For Students, Tricare, Cigna, Aetna, and all major insurances with PPO

Check with our staff if you have other types of coverage.