What to Expect During a Comprehensive Eye Exam

An eye exam comprises a series of eye tests to evaluate the vision and help identify the presence of eye diseases. The eye doctor often uses a range of instruments and may shine a bright light at the eye to have a closer look at the inside to determine if there is a cause for concern. You may also be asked to look through a range of lenses during the exam. Each test is aimed at evaluating a specific aspect of your eye health or vision. It is recommended to go for eye exams regularly to help detect eye problems and diseases at their earliest stage, before they cause irreversible damage or when they can still be treated. Regular eye exams provide an ophthalmologist with an opportunity to help you correct any vision problems and adapt to vision changes for improved overall eye health. Below is what to expect during a comprehensive eye exam. If you haven’t seen an eye care professional in over a year you should schedule an eye exam in San Jose area.

Visual acuity tests

When you visit an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam, you’re likely to go through visual acuity tests before any other tests. These tests measure how sharp your vision is, as the doctor uses a standard eye chart and attempts to measure your distance visual acuity. A small, handheld acuity chart will be used to evaluate your near vision.

Cover test

This is a great way to examine how the eyes work together. This is the simplest and the most common way doctors use to check eye coordination. During this test, the eye doctor will ask the patient to focus on an object across the room. Each of the eyes is then covered in turns while the patient stares at the small target. This is then repeated while the patient is looking at an object nearby. A cover test is great for checking eye alignment. These tests also allow the eye doctor to assess whether the eye has to move to locate the fixation target, a condition known as strabismus. The tests can also help to detect possible amblyopia (“lazy eye”) or eye strain.

Color blindness test

A trip to your eye doctor may also mean a screening test to check your color vision. This test is often performed earlier in the examination process to eliminate the possibility of color blindness. As soon as you enter your eye doctor’s office for a comprehensive eye exam, expect your doctor to start with color blindness tests. These tests help to identify any hereditary color vision deficiencies and possibly alert the eye professional to potential eye health issues that could interfere with your color vision.

Ocular motility testing

Also known as eye movement test, this is used to determine the ability of the eyes to follow a moving object while quickly shifting between and precisely fixating on two separate target objects. Your optometrist will also test smooth eye movements by having you hold your head in a fixed position while following the movement of a handheld target with just your eyes and not your head.


This test is used to determine the right prescription eyeglasses for your eyes. Your eye doctor places a phoropter before your eyes and asks you to look through a range of lenses to determine which pair looks clearer. The doctor then continues to fine-turn the power of the lens until a final prescription is reached.

Therefore, when you visit your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam, you should expect some of these tests. Note that the list is not comprehensive and may include other tests such as the glaucoma test, the slit lamp exam, and retinas copy among others.