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What to Expect

Preparing for Your Eye Exam

Person wearing glasses reading before an eye doctor's appointment

You might be going to a regularly-scheduled eye exam. You may be following a recommendation to see an optometrist after a vision screening at a local clinic or wellness centre. Or your next optometrist visit could be a response to vision problems or eye discomfort.

The more you know going in, the easier the entire vision care process will be.

For regularly scheduled eye exams, expect to talk about any changes in your medical history since the last time you saw your optometrist . And if this is your first time in a new practice, you’ll be asked to provide a more complete medical history, including a list of medications you’re currently taking and any vision problems your parents may have experienced.

In addition, you’ll undergo a series of vision and eye tests that help determine the overall health and quality of your vision. These tests also help to check that your current prescription glasses or contacts (if you have them) are still meeting your vision needs. Your optometrist will also check your eyes for signs of any potential vision problems or eye diseases. In many instances, your pupil may be dilated (opened) using special drops so that your optometrist has a clearer view to examine the structures inside the eye.

You’ll then have an honest discussion about the current state of your eye health and vision and your optometrist may prescribe vision correction for you in the form of glasses or contact lenses. Any health concerns or possibly serious vision complications will also be discussed, including the next steps you must take to preserve and protect your sight.

How Long will a Vision Test Take?

In general, a routine eye exam will last 30 minutes to an hour depending upon the number of tests you have and may be partially or completely covered by Medicare.

Visiting optometrists as a result of a vision screening is also common, but remember: vision screenings offered by health clinics, paediatricians, public schools or local charitable organisations are not a substitute for comprehensive eye exams. Be sure to bring the findings from your screening to your optometrist —it’s a great way to begin the discussion of your child’s visual needs and eye health.

For optometry visits that result from eye pain, eye discomfort or vision problems you actually can notice, expect to take many of the steps involved in a routine eye exam, but specific to the symptoms you’re experiencing. There may be a number of additional tests required as well, so it’s important—especially when suffering pain or discomfort—to allow for as much time as possible for a complete, comprehensive eye exam.

And if you feel you are in an emergency situation with your eyes or your vision—don’t wait. Seek immediate emergency medical treatment.

What to Remember For the Optometrist Appointment

Many vision problems and eye diseases often present minimal, if any, symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to make regular appointments to see your optometrist. And since vision can change gradually over time, it’s important to know that you’re seeing well, year after year.

Remember the following for your next optometrist visit:

  • Know your medical history and list of current medications
  • Know your current symptoms and be able to describe them—write them down if necessary
  • Know your family general health and eye history—eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts are hereditary
  • Bring your Medicare card and private health fund card, if you have one
  • Bring your most recent prescription for glasses or contact lenses
  • Bring your corrective eyewear, including any specific reading/computer glasses and sunglasses
  • If undergoing a test using pupil dilation eye drops, bring sunglasses, and possibly arrange for some-one to drive you home afterwards

Most importantly, remember that optometrists— and everyone within the eye care practice — are there to help you see great and feel relaxed and confident at all times.

Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for information material that aided in the creation of this website.

You can contact our practice at your convenience to schedule your next optometrist appointment.