Whether you wear glasses or not, it's a good idea to see your eye doctor regularly. In addition to screening you for near- or farsightedness, your optometrist conducts several tests to see if you are developing various vision problems. You might wonder why the technician puffs air in your eye, or why those eyedrops make it difficult to read for a few hours. Take a look at some common eye tests that you can expect from your next optometrist visit.
The Puff in Your Eye
The "air puff" or tonometry test, is the part of the eye exam that no one seems to like very much. During this test, you are to focus on a light or image, and a machine puffs air into your eye. It might be repeated two or three times, and then you'll get the same treatment in the other eye. It's important to try to keep your eye open and not flinch during the test, which is easier said than done.
The reason for the air puff is to check for glaucoma, a condition that can cause blindness if allowed to progress untreated. Air bounces off of your eye, and the pressure in your eye is measured by the machine. If the pressure is too high, you'll have more tests to screen you for glaucoma.
The "What Number Do You See?" Test
During your eye exam, the technician or optometrist will show you several images of numbers against a multicolored background. The numbers look as though they are made out of dots and circles. These images are called Ishihara plates, and they are meant to screen you for color blindness.
The two major types of color blindness are trouble differentiating between red and green and trouble differentiating between blue and yellow. The condition affects approximately 1 in 12 men and is much less common in women, says Colour Blind Awareness.
The Dilating Drops
Toward the end of your eye exam, you'll likely have eyedrops placed in your eyes. In many cases, you'll be sent back to the waiting room for a short time while the drops work. You'll know they're working when you can't read a magazine's print anymore.
Dilation is important, as it opens up your pupils and allows the eye doctor to see your retina and the inner structures of your eye. The reason it's difficult (or impossible) to read small print is because the muscles that help your eye focus are relaxed by the drops. The muscles of your iris that close your pupil in response to bright light are also relaxed; for this reason, it's important to wear sunglasses when you venture outdoors for a few hours after your exam.
If you aren't sure why you are having a certain test done, be sure to ask your optometrist. He or she will be happy to explain why the test is necessary and how it can improve your overall eye health.
For more information, contact Wear Eyewear or a similar company.