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Eye Exam FAQs

  • How much is an eye exam?

    The cost of an eye exam will depend on factors such as rates set by the optometrist and whether vision services are part of your health insurance plan. Contact your eye doctor directly to find out the cost of an eye exam.

  • How long does an eye exam take?

    An eye exam usually takes anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes, according to the University of Utah. Your optometrist can confirm how long your eye exam will take based on the number and types of tests you have.

  • How often should you get your eyes checked?

    You should schedule an optometrist eye exam if you have eye or vision problems. The CDC recommends having an eye exam every year if you have diabetes and every two years if you are at risk for glaucoma. Children should have at least one eye test between the ages of three and five years.

  • Can I drive after eye dilation?

    The NLM recommends against driving if your eyes have been dilated during an eye exam, as your vision may be blurry for several hours afterward.

  • What should I not do before an eye exam?

    The NLM recommends avoiding eye strain on the day of your eye test, as this may compromise your results. Eye strain may be caused by watching TV, reading without taking breaks, or driving a long distance. You might want to consider arranging for a ride to your appointment as driving after pupil dilation is not recommended.

  • What happens at an eye exam?

    According to NLM, during an eye exam, an optometrist will usually perform a series of tests to check your vision and eye health. Your doctor can give you more information regarding what to expect during your appointment based on the reason for your visit.

  • Why do people get their eyes dilated?

    Your eye doctor may use eye drops to dilate your eyes during an eye test. This allows the doctor to closely examine the backs of your eyes and other parts of your eyes more accurately so he or she can properly diagnose your eye condition, reports NLM.

  • What can an eye exam detect?

    An eye exam can help your optometrist detect a wide range of vision and eye health problems. According to the NLM, these problems include cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration, among many others.

  • How long do eye doctor appointments take?

    Eye doctor appointments usually take between 30 minutes to an hour, reports the University of Utah. Your eye doctor can confirm the length of your appointment based on the type and number of tests you’re having.

  • Where can I find an eye examination near me?

    Use Solv to find an eyeglass exam or comprehensive eye examination near you. Solv features only the highest-rated optometrists, so you can narrow your options and find a quality provider. Solv also features a directory of urgent care centers in the event you suffer an eye injury and need immediate medical care.

About Eye Exams

An eye exam is one or more tests in which an eye doctor checks your vision and eye health. Knowing more about different types of eye tests can help you prepare for your appointment.

What to expect during a comprehensive eye exam

When you first arrive for your eye check up, your eye doctor (also known as an optometrist) will ask you whether you are experiencing any specific vision problems or symptoms in your eyes. Then, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), your eye doctor will review your history with eyeglasses or contact lenses and talk to you about your overall health—including any medications you are taking.

Your optometrist will then perform one or more eye tests and a thorough examination of the eyes, depending on your symptoms and the reason for your visit. These tests may include a visual acuity test, color blindness test, or depth perception test, among others, reports the NLM.

Schedule an exam

The CDC recommends having an optometrist eye exam if you have eye or vision problems such as eye pain, double vision, or floaters. The easiest and most convenient way to schedule an eye doctor exam is to use Solv. Solv allows you to find top-rated eye doctors in your area and schedule a same-day or next-day eye exams.

Visual acuity tests

A visual acuity test is used to determine how well you can read letters on a chart located 20 feet away. The chart, known as the Snellen chart, features letters in different sizes. According to the NLM, the visual acuity test is a routine part of any eye exam and helps your optometrist determine if you have a vision problem or have experienced a vision change.

Color blindness test

A color blindness test, also known as a color vision test, checks your ability to distinguish colors from one another, reports the NLM. The most common test for color blindness involves the use of cards with colored dots that form numbers or symbols, known as Ishihara plates. During this test, you will be asked to identify the symbols.

Cover test

The cover test for color blindness requires you to cover one eye at a time and identify symbols on cards that are held 14 inches away from your face. The NLM says the cover test often requires you to determine the intensity of a color, such as the brightness of a shade of red.

Ocular motility testing (eye movements)

Ocular motility testing determines how well your eye muscles are working. According to the NLM, the most common test used for ocular motility requires you to sit or stand and look straight ahead at an object being held about 16 inches away from your face. Your eye doctor will then move that object in several directions and ask you to follow it with your eyes without moving your head.

Stereopsis test (depth perception)

A stereopsis test, or depth perception test, is used to check whether you can see in three dimensions and how well you can determine the distance of an object. According to the University of Iowa and Ohio Department of Health, most stereopsis tests require you to wear a pair of stereo glasses or polarized glasses. Then, your optometrist will hold up a series of cards to measure your ability to see dimensions and gauge distances.


Retinoscopy is an eye doctor test that measures refractive errors, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, reports the University of Michigan. Before this test, your doctor may dilate your eyes using eye drops to prevent your pupils from changing in size during the test. Then, the doctor uses an instrument called a retinoscope to project light into your eyes, which helps determine whether you need eyeglasses to correct refractive errors.


Refraction is the bending of light rays as they pass through one object to another, reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It adds that the cornea and lens refract light rays to focus them on the retina in your eye. If your eye changes shape, refraction will also change to cause blurred vision, which is a symptom of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia, according to NIH.

Autorefractors and aberrometers

Autorefractors and aberrometers are machines your eye doctor may also use to measure refractive errors, states NIH. Like a retinoscope, these machines measure rays of light that pass through your eyes to determine whether you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia.

Slit lamp exam

The slit lamp exam is an eye test used to see the front parts of your eye, including the eyelids, cornea, conjunctiva, sclera, and iris, reports the NLM. For this test, your eye doctor will use eye drops to widen your pupils. Then, a low-powered microscope with a high-intensity light will examine your eyes. According to the NLM, this retinal exam can help your doctor diagnose vision problems, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment.

The glaucoma test

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, reports NLM. Glaucoma can be diagnosed using a glaucoma test, also known as tonometry, which measures the pressure inside your eyes. According to the NLM, tonometry can be performed as a pupil dilation test or visual field test.

Pupil dilation

During the pupil dilation test, your optometrist will usually ask you to look straight ahead, then move a slit lamp toward your eyes until the tip of a device called a tonometer barely touches your cornea. Then, your doctor will look through the eyepiece on the slit lamp to examine eye pressure, reports NLM.

Visual field test

During the visual field test, your optometrist will ask you to rest your chin on a machine that emits a tiny beam of light into your eyes. This light will reflect off your cornea onto a detector. Then, according to the NLM, the device will blast a puff of air into your eye to flatten the cornea, which allows your doctor to calculate eye pressure.

Other eye tests

Your optometrist may use other eye tests to perform a comprehensive eye exam. The NLM reports that these tests may include a peripheral vision test and a penlight test to examine pupil constriction. Your eye doctor can give you more information about the types of eye tests used during your eye exam.


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