Which Tests Are Included in a Routine Eye Check-up?

Regular eye check-ups are crucial to maintaining overall eye health and detecting potential issues before they become severe. Ordinarily, the frequency of these check-ups should depend on your age and specific ocular condition. Checking them regularly can predict diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, and other age-related conditions.

The Process of an Eye Check-up: Step By Step

Below is an elaboration on the process of an eye check-up, structured in a step-by-step fashion to give you a comprehensive idea of what to expect:

  1. Check-in, Medical History, and Symptom Discussion: When you arrive at the eye center, you will be asked to complete a form detailing your personal and family medical history. This would involve information about existing or past illnesses, surgeries, allergies, and eye-related issues. This process aids the eye care professional detect whether your eye issues might be related to other health problems.
  2. Preliminary Tests, Basic Vision, and Eye Health Assessment: After the check-in phase, you will go through preliminary vision tests, including a visual acuity test and a test for color blindness. The eye care professional will assess your eye health and potentially identify early signs of diseases.
    • Visual Acuity Test: The optometrist will ask you to read from a Snellen Chart to determine your ability to see clearly at distances. Each eye is tested individually for precise results.
    • Color Blindness Test: During the color blindness test, you will be shown several circular plates containing dots of different colors and asked to identify or trace the patterns or numbers in the plate.
  3. Detailed Examinations: Understanding Specific Aspects of Your Vision and Eye Health: If potential issues arise from the preliminary tests, the optometrist might suggest additional tests, including:
    • Cover Test: This test checks how well your eyes work together. The eye care professional will ask you to focus on a distant object, then cover one eye and observe the uncovered eye’s reaction. They then switch to your other eye.
    • Stereopsis Test: The stereopsis test measures your depth perception. The optometrist will ask you to wear 3D glasses and identify specific patterns on a test card.

Initial Vision Test

  1. Visual Acuity Test: The most common type of eye test is the Snellen Chart test. This test helps determine how you see details at a distance. If your results are substandard, it could indicate a need for glasses or contact lenses.
  2. Color Blindness Test: Color blindness tests, using peculiar Ishihara plates, can identify potential color perception issues and their severity. Identifying color blindness early is crucial, especially for children, as it can impact learning.

Preliminary Eye Health Tests

Following the initial vision test, your eye care professionals will conduct a cover test to scrutinize how your eyes function together. For this test, you will focus on a particular object across the room while the optometrist covers each of your eyes. This process helps to identify amblyopia, strabismus, or other binocular vision problems.

Stereopsis Test

The stereopsis test involves understanding the depth of your vision. You’ll be asked to wear “3D” glasses and identify specific patterns on a test card. This evaluates your overall depth perception.

Detailed Eye Examinations

Intraocular Pressure Measurement

The Intraocular Pressure Measurement process is a pivotal part of an eye check-up and is crucial for detecting diseases such as glaucoma. Below is a step-by-step explanation of the process:

  1. Understanding the Test: The test aims to measure the fluid pressure inside your eyes, known as intraocular pressure (IOP). If your IOP is above the normal range, you may be at risk for or have glaucoma.
  2. Preparation: Before the test, the optometrist or the technician will explain the process to you. They will then use an anesthetic eye drop to numb your eyes, making the procedure painless. Additionally, a dye may help your optometrist see the eye structures more clearly.
  3. The Tonometer: The device used for this test is called a tonometer. It comes in contact with the cornea (the clear part at the front of the eye) to measure IOP. However, different types of tonometers do not require contact, like the air-puff tonometer.

The Test: The test can be performed in two ways:

  1. Contact Tonometer: With your eye open, the tonometer lightly touches the cornea, reading the pressure inside your eye.
  2. Air-puff Tonometer: If an air-puff tonometer is used, a puff of air will be directed towards your eye. The device measures how the air puff affects the light reflected off the cornea, and this information is used to calculate the IOP.

Interpreting the Results

The test results will be interpreted by your optometrist, who will discuss them with you. Normal intraocular pressure is between 12-22 mm Hg. Everyone’s eyes are different, and what is high for one person may not be high for another.

Post-Test Steps

If your IOP is above average, your optometrist may conduct additional tests to analyze your eye health and structure further. Sometimes, high IOP can be an early sign of glaucoma or other eye conditions, requiring more comprehensive evaluation and potential treatment – including lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery.

Dilated Pupil Examination

In this procedure, drops expand your pupils, enabling the optometrist to examine the inside of your eyes—especially the retina and optic nerve—more thoroughly. It’s essential for an advanced eye center in Bloomington, Indiana, where only the best high-tech equipment is used.

Dry Eye Therapy

Suppose the tests performed during your eye exam detect dry eye symptoms. In that case, your optometrist may recommend dry eye therapy to alleviate the symptoms and deal with the underlying cause of dryness. This can range from artificial tears to in-office treatments. It helps to manage this condition effectively, enhancing your comfort and visual acuity.


Eye check-ups provide invaluable insights into our eye health. More than just determining whether you need corrective lenses, they allow eye care professionals to spot early warning signs of more serious eye conditions. Regular and proactive eye care will help maintain vision health and promptly detect alarming changes.