5 Types of Eye Exams and What You Can Learn From Them

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5 Types of Eye Exams and What You Can Learn From Them

The eyes are often dubbed as “the windows to the soul.” Eyesight is also often regarded as the most important of all five senses, given that it comprises 80% of all a person can perceive.

The eyes are also used for almost every human activity, including driving, working, and even watching television. Plus, they help keep you away from danger in case your other senses stop working (like when you can’t smell smoke from fire when your nose is clogged). Considering this, it is quite surprising why some people neglect their eyecare. This is why eye checkups are important.

This article will explain to you the various eye tests in Dubai along with the two important things you can learn from them. 5 types of eye exams and what you can learn from them.

5 Types of Eye Tests

During a checkup, you may undergo one or more of these five eye tests:

1. Retinoscopy

A retinoscopy makes use of an instrument with numerous dials and lenses called a “phoropter.”

During this eye test, the doctor flips various lenses; while you look through the machine and focus on an object in front of you. Generally, you will be asked to look at the “E” located on the top row at an eye chart.

During the process, the optometrist will shine a light into your eyes and see how it reacts through different lenses. This is what eye doctors use to estimate your lens prescription-grade.

2. Visual Acuity Test

Not all eye tests are conducted to determine what lens grade you need. Some of them are used to see whether your eyes are in perfect health. A visual acuity test does just that.

This test entails reading letters from a chart position in specific distances using one eye at a time. Your responses let the eye doctor know whether your vision is still at the standard 20/20.

3. Refraction Test

Like retinoscopy, the refraction test aids eye doctors in prescribing the correct corrective contact lenses or glasses for you. You will be asked to gaze through a phoropter and focus on the eye chart in front of you; during this test.

Unlike retinoscopy; you will be repeatedly asked to choose which one of two lens options makes your vision clearer. This will serve as the basis for the optometrist’s diagnosis on whether you are farsighted, nearsighted or have astigmatism. Although there’s another test that could help verify this last one.

Alternatively, the refraction test will also show if you don’t need vision correction at all.

4. Keratometry Tests

Keratometry tests help measure and determine the shape and curve of the cornea  (the outer layer of the eyes). This affects how your eyes perceive and reflect light. The shape of corneas can help identify the potential causes of blurry or unclear vision and other symptoms.

In some cases, corneas are elongated or steep, which could be indicators of astigmatism.

During this test, you are asked to look into a machine that is adjusted to achieve perfect alignment with your eye. It will then show the optometrist the measurements of your cornea, which he will then use to diagnose astigmatism.

5. Peripheral Visual Field Exam

Although your focus may be on whatever you’re looking at directly; you (along with every other human being) have something called a “peripheral vision”. This is how you see objects from the sides of your field of vision.

A visual field exam is conducted to determine how well you can see on your periphery.  Different tests may be performed under this examination; to assess your visual field’s size and identify any gaps in it.

  • Automated perimetry – While looking into a machine focusing on one spot at the centre, you are asked to press a button whenever you see the light flashing in your periphery.
  • Tangent screen exam – This entails focusing on a target shown at the centre of a screen, which is moved in and out of your peripheral vision. You will be asked to tell the optometrist whenever they appear or vanish from your field of view.
  • Confrontational visual field test – The eye doctor will move a hand in and out of your visual field and ask you the number of fingers he’s holding up without looking directly at it.

2 Things You’ll Learn From an Eye Checkup

When you schedule an appointment with an eye doctor, you’ll learn plenty of things, including the following:

1. Vision screening is just the beginning.

A vision screening is quite different from an actual trip to the eye clinic for a comprehensive eye exam.

The former (which is usually what most people get while in school) only shows whether there is a need for further evaluation. On the other hand, a comprehensive eye checkup conducted by a licensed eye professional diagnoses eyesight issues, if any.

2. Eye examinations detect more than vision problems.

Yes, eye examinations can help determine whether you need glasses or even laser eye surgery. However, these aren’t the only conditions you can discover with this type of checkup.

In some cases, you might leave the eye clinic with a referral to another specialist because of the result of an eye test your eye doctor performed. Some of the conditions that may lead to this situation are:

  • Diabetes – The presence of leaking blood or yellowish fluid in the retina’s small capillaries indicates the possibility of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Autoimmune disorders – Eye inflammation could be a sign of autoimmune disorders, like l
  • High cholesterol levels – Yellowish corneas could be a sign of high cholesterol levels. Plaques in the retinal vessels could also indicate this.
  • Hypertension – Kinks, bends, or tears in the eyes’ blood vessels are possible indicators of high blood pressure.
  • Thyroid disorders – Bulging or protruding eyeballs are a tell-tale sign of a specific thyroid disease known as “Graves Diseases.”
  • Tumours and cancer – Tumors in the neck or an aneurysm can be detected when eye doctors notice an irregularity in the shape of your pupils or drooping of the eyelids. Unusual eye structure may also be a sign of ocular melanoma and any other form of cancer.

Take Care of Your Eyes

Eye examinations are as important to your health as any other checkup. Make sure you take care of your eyes well by understanding the different tests and what you can learn from them.

Featured photo by Marina Vitale on Unsplash
Millicent Grim

Dr Millicent M. Grim, Specialist Ophthalmologist & LASIK Specialist, is the Medical Director of Gulf Eye Center in Dubai. Since 2002, Gulf Eye Center’s highly qualified ophthalmologists and optometrists/ODs have been successfully treating a wide range of eye conditions using advanced techniques. They also provide comprehensive eye care and vision restoration procedures for people of all ages.

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