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Eye Exams at The Eye Care & Surgery Center in New Jersey

By Joel Confino, M.D.

About Eye Exams
Routine eye exams for eye health, vision correction for eyeglasses and contact lenses as well as cataract eye exams, LASIK eye exams, eye exams for retina problems including diabetic eye problems and age related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma eye exams and screening are performed by the eye doctors and staff members at The Eye Care & Surgery Center as part of the full range of comprehensive eye care services we offer. We strongly recommend that all patients have routine eye examinations on a regular basis. 

How Often Should I Have My Eyes Examined?
The frequency of your eye examinations depends on many factors. Your age, general health, family history of eye problems, and history of treatment for any eye conditions or diseases in the past will determine how often The Eye Care & Surgery Center eye doctors suggest that you schedule your visits.

If you are scheduling a general eye examination at The Eye Care & Surgery Center, it will consist of complete testing of your vision and a comprehensive medical evaluation of the health of your eyes.

Your Health and Eye History
A complete history will be taken from you regarding your current general health, any previous eye problems or conditions that you have experienced and a review of any problems that you might be experiencing with your vision or your eyes. This will be important information to provide during your screening process. If you have any chronic health problems, even if they are currently stable, it is important that you share this information as well.  

Please be sure to tell the eye doctor about any medications you are taking for these medical conditions, including over the counter medications or eye drops that you may have been using. They are all important.

Your family history will be reviewed with you as well. Please tell us about any health problems that run in your family such as diabetes and high blood pressure.  We should also be aware of any eye problems that your family members may have experienced such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration as they tend to run in families.

The Eye Examination
Your eye examination will begin with a measurement of your vision, or visual acuity, with your current eyeglasses or contact lenses. Chances are that if you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, some of the letters on the “Big E” eye chart will be blurry without them. You will be asked to read a chart projected across the examination room that consists of numbers and letters that get progressively smaller and more difficult to read as you move down the chart. This test, called “Snellin Acuity” or just “Visual Acuity” it is an important first step to understanding how well you see.

A Refraction will be performed in order to determine the most accurate eyeglass or contact lens prescription necessary to fully correct your vision. This entails having you sit behind an instrument called a Phoroptor, so that the doctor can present a number of lens combinations to determine which corrects your vision most precisely. For those patients who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, you have probably experienced the “which is better” test called refraction.  If you require vision correction the eye doctor will provide you with a copy of your prescription so that you can take it to the The Eye Care & Surgery Center Optical Department where our Opticians can help you select a good fitting and fashionable frame and the most appropriate type of lenses for your work, hobbies or daily activities.

Next, the movement of your eyes, or “Ocular Motility” will be evaluated in order to understand how well the eye muscles function together and how effectively they move your eyes into the different positions of gaze.  

By shining a fairly bright light in your eyes, the reaction of your pupils to the light will be evaluated. By shinning the light into your eyes in different directions, the doctors can learn a great deal about how well your Optic Nerve is functioning.

You will then be asked to sit comfortably behind a specialized instrument called a Slit Lamp Biomicroscope. This instrument provides the eye doctor with both high magnification and special illumination. Using this instrument it is possible for your Ophthalmologist to examine the condition of your eyelids, eye lashes, eyelid margins and tear film. The Slit Lamp will also be used to carefully examine the sclera-or “white of your eye”-and the cornea, or clear dome shaped tissue in front of your pupil. By focusing the slit lamp through the pupil or the dark center of the iris-the colored part of the eye-your doctor will be able to examine the health of the crystalline lens, which is where cataracts form. 

In order to check for one of the signs of Glaucoma, eye drops will be placed in your eyes so that the pressure, called Intraocular Pressure (IOP) can be measured while you are behind the Slit Lamp, or with a TonoPen, which is a handheld instrument.  This is an important diagnostic test for Glaucoma.  

Once your Ophthalmologist has completed the examination of the “front of the eye”, it will be time to begin the examination of the health of the “back of the eye”. At this time, additional eye drops may be placed in your eyes in order to dilate or widen your pupils. After the dilation drops are placed in your eyes, it will usually take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes for the eye drops to fully work and dilate your pupil.  

Please be patient. You will be asked to relax in one of our comfortable waiting areas while the eye drops work, or if you prefer you may take a walk and browse through our optical shop while you wait. The thorough examination of the health of the retina and optic nerve through a dilated pupil is not uncomfortable. However, the fully widened pupil may make you somewhat sensitive to light and may also blur your vision, especially your near vision, for a few hours after your eye examination. If you have not had a dilated exam in the past, it is a good idea to have a driver on your exam day. It is important to bring a good pair of sunglasses with you in order to lessen your light sensitivity.

If you, a family member or friend, would like to schedule an eye examination, please call The Eye Care & Surgery Center at 908-789-8999.