What is an eye examination?

An eye examination is a critical step to diagnose, monitor, or exclude a disease affecting the eyes and is performed by an ophthalmologist. In addition to those who have already been diagnosed with an eye disease and will undergo regular visits to monitor any progress, a patient can be sent to an ophthalmologist by a general practitioner to clarify the nature of symptoms such as a lowering of visual acuity, blurred vision, presence in the visual field of colored spots, halos or streaks, dots, obscured vision, and in the case of ocular lesions of various nature.


What is the purpose of an eye examination?

An eye test is used to assess the health of the eyes, and then to diagnose, or rule out the presence of eye diseases, and wherever possible to establish its therapy. Because many eye diseases are asymptomatic it is recommended to perform periodic eye exams, especially if there is a prior eye disease history in the family. An eye examination can also be helpful in the identification of other diseases such as systemic diseases, cancers, and diseases of the nervous system characterized by ocular manifestations.

What happens during an eye examination?

During the first phase of the visit, an ophthalmologist will collect information about the patient's medical history with questions such as smoking habits, alcohol consumption, level of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle, current pathologies, other cases in the family of eye diseases, and any medication the patient is taking. The doctor will then perform an eye examination which consists of the inspection of the eyelids, surrounding tissues, interpalpebral, the conjunctiva, sclera, cornea, and iris.
The specialist then goes on to perform tests designed to highlight the level of visual acuity, pupillary function, and motility of the external muscles of the eye. The visit usually ends with the measurement of the intraocular pressure using tonometry, and with the fundus examination which is used to study the ocular structures located at the back of the iris and the lens. The visit lasts approximately 30 minutes.


Are there any guidelines for preparation?

In order to undergo an eye examination there are no standards of preparation. It is advised that a patient brings along any tests carried out at the request of the treating physician.