An eye exam is an important part of your healthcare regimen that should be done at least once a year. It allows your doctor to test your vision, update your prescription, and detect disease or health issues before symptoms are visible. However, the length of an eye exam can vary. It depends on the number of tests and scans that are performed, as well as the complexity of those tests.
Your eye doctor may start your exam by testing how clearly you see using a Snellen chart. They’ll also use a device called a phoroptor to compare lenses and determine your prescription. They’ll likely also ask you to cover one of your eyes and focus on a target close up or far away to check the functioning of your eyes. Lastly, they’ll shine a light into your pupils and watch how they react. If they don’t dilate or constrict properly, it can indicate an underlying problem.
Some optometrists offer premium eye exams that include digital retinal imaging and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). These tests take longer to complete because they require the use of special eye drops that temporarily make your pupils larger. This allows them to use a tool to look at the back of your retina in detail, allowing them to see signs of disease even before the earliest visual symptoms occur. This advanced technology can reveal more than 80% of the retina in a single image, compared to only 15% with traditional methods.