What do eye exams evaluate?
Comprehensive eye exams give your provider information about your vision. They tell eye doctors whether you need corrective lenses and what your prescription is. During an eye exam, your provider will also look for eye-related concerns, including:
- Refractive errors, such as astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia (losing near-focus vision).
- Changes in vision, low vision, and signs of cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration or a detached retina.
- Problems with the muscles supporting the eyes, such as strabismus (crossed eyes) or amblyopia (lazy eye).
- Tumors and cancer in the eye (intraocular cancer), including intraocular melanoma and retinoblastoma.
Your provider will also check for a wide range of conditions, diseases and disorders that aren’t necessarily eye-related. Problems or changes in the eyes can be a sign of several conditions, including:
- Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis (MS).
- Diabetes, which can cause diabetes-related retinopathy.
- High blood pressure, high cholesterol or arterial disease.
What should I expect after an eye examination?
If you’ve had your eyes dilated, your vision will be blurry for several hours after the exam. Your eyes will also be more sensitive to light. For a few hours after an eye dilation, you should avoid driving, reading and looking at screens. Make sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun as your pupils shrink back to normal. If you don’t need dilation, you can get back to your usual activities right away.
RESULTS AND FOLLOW-UP
When should I know the results of the eye exam?
Most of the time, your provider will give you results from your eye exam right away. If you need glasses or contacts, you’ll leave the appointment with a prescription. You’ll also have information about your vision, eye structure and eye health. Sometimes your provider may recommend a follow-up appointment or additional tests.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Eye exams not only help you see better, they also detect eye problems that can cause vision loss. Many of these problems don’t have any outward signs or symptoms, so the only way to catch them is through an exam. Ask your provider how often you should get an eye exam. When you see your eye doctor, be sure to share information about your family’s eye health history. Regular eye exams are an essential part of maintaining good overall health.