Different Tests You’ll Take During an Eye Exam

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Seeing an eye doctor regularly should be part of your routine wellness checkups. For most people, our healthy vision can decline over time, and an eye doctor will perform various tests to access your vision and determine solutions for any specific vision problems you may have.   

These are the different tests you’ll have to take during an eye exam.   

Visual Acuity  

Visual acuity tests are done to determine how sharp your vision is. The doctor will have you look at an eye chart for this examination to read lines of numbers and letters. During this test, the doctor will have you use one eye at a time to read specific lines. Each line is bigger or smaller to help determine the sharpness of your vision in each eye.   

Color Vision Testing  

To determine if you have a color vision deficiency, your doctor will use the Ishihara color vision test.  

For this test, there will be dots of varying brightness, colors, and sizes that make up a circle with a number in the center. If you have normal color vision, you will be able to determine the number present in the circle.  


A retinoscopy is what most people think of when they imagine an eye exam. A machine with multiple lenses and dials is used to approximate your lens prescription.   

As you look through the machine, known as a phoropter, the eye doctor flips different lenses in front of your eyes, and you are asked to focus on the object in front of you. The optometrist shines a light into your eyes and watches how the light affects your eyes with different lenses.

Refraction Test  

A refraction test also determines your eyeglass prescription. Using the phoropter, the doctor will have you look at the eye chart on the opposite wall. Throughout the test, you see a series of lens pairs; for each pair, the eye doctor will ask which of the two you see more clearly through.

Based on your answers, the doctor determines whether your eyes are nearsighted, farsighted, or affected by astigmatism.   

Keratometry Test  

This test measures the shape and curve of your cornea. The cornea’s shape affects how your eye perceives and reflects light. Steep or elongated curves result in a condition known as astigmatism.   

During a keratometry test, you look into a special machine that will read off measurements of your eye to the doctor.   

While there are many different tests you’ll take during an eye exam, these are some of the most common tests you should be prepared for at your next visit.   

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