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Physical Eye Exams

A comprehensive eye exam is more than just testing the strength of your vision. It also involves checking the physical health of your eye.

The cover-uncover test is a common examination that tests how well your eyes work together. The test involves covering one eye with a plastic paddle and examining the uncovered eye while it is focusing on a near object.

The first part is called the cover-uncover test. The patient is asked to focus on an object and then the doctor covers one eye. The doctor observes how the uncovered eye moves once the other is covered. If the eye deviates inwards or outwards, this may be a sign of strabismus. The doctor also observes how the eye moves when the paddle is removed. The cover-uncover portion is used to tell the direction of strabismus, either exotropic or esotropic.

The cross-cover test is the second part of the exam. This involves constantly switching the cover back and forth between each eye. This exam can help discover latent strabismus that only occurs when binocular vision is rapidly disrupted. Nystagmus can also be detected.

While the cover test is used to examine the ocular muscles, the slit-lamp examination is used to examine the health of different parts of your eyes. Dye is used to make different parts of the eye more differentiable. The doctor initially examines the conjunctiva, sclera and uvea. With the use of pupil dilating drops and higher-powered lenses, the doctor can also examine the retina in the back of your eye. This is quite possibly the most important test. The doctor can detect a multitude of physical issues with the eye including cataracts, retinitis, macular degeneration, tumors, or ulceration.

Testing for intraocular pressure is an important part of maintaining eye health. High ocular pressure is a cause of glaucoma. Testing for glaucoma is called tonometry. The non-contact tonometry test is the most common form. It involves blasting a small amount of air at your eye and monitoring the eyes elasticity. Applied tonometer is when an instrument touches the surface of your eye directly. Of course, the eye is numbed using eye drops beforehand.

An aberrometer is a tool that can map the aberrations of the cornea. Other tools are used to prescribe normal causes for corrective lenses, i.e. myopia, mild astigmatism. An aberrometer uses lasers and light to detect tiny or abnormal irregularities to best correct for a patient’s individual errors.