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How to Do an Eye Exam

An eye exam is a series of tests typically performed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist to check vision as well as structures and functions of the eye. Examination of the eye is of paramount importance in diagnosis of eye disease.

  • 1 Check visual acuity (VA). VA is the acuteness or clearness of vision, typically checked at a distance of 20 feet (6.1 m). VA is denoted by a fraction, with the numerator referring to the distance at which the tested eye can see, compared to the denominator, which refers to the distance at which a normal healthy eye can see.
  • 2 Test peripheral vision by checking visual field. With index finger horizontal to each eye, move finger to lateral side until examinee can no longer see it. He/she should have at least 70 degrees of vision in the horizontal meridian in each eye.
  • 3 Test for color vision. Ask the examinee to look at the colors on the eye chart and identify them.
  • 4 Test for stereopsis for depth perception by checking binocular vision and monocular vision.
  • 5 Conjunctiva. Inspect the bulbar conjunctiva (on the globe) and palebral conjunctiva (on the internal aspects of the lids) for blood vessel, secretions, or redness, and presence of any foreign bodies or granulations.
  • 6 Do a fundus exam. To see the fundus better, dilate the pupils by use of an eyedrop containing an agent to dilate the eyes, such as atropine.