Understanding Eye Exams: The Top FAQs and Answers

January 22, 2024by Dr. Millicent M. Grim

Looking after your health means taking care of your eyes. After all, they are your windows to the world that enable you to function optimally and enjoy a good quality of life.

Ask the best eye clinics in Dubai, and your doctors will tell you that taking care of your eyes entails wearing eyewear to protect them from harmful UV rays, staying hydrated, having a balanced diet and taking frequent breaks when staring at screens. Getting regular eye exams is crucial for maintaining your eye health as well.


Eye Exam FAQs

You may feel some apprehension if you’re getting an eye exam for the first time. However, you can assuage your fears by knowing the answers to the common frequently asked questions about this procedure.


Q. What Happens During an Eye Exam?

  1. An eye exam is a series of tests done by a specialist to check your vision and eye health.

It usually starts with the ophthalmologist asking about any eye or vision problems you may have, the symptoms you’re experiencing, and your health history.

Once done, you’ll undergo an eye exam, which typically  involves the following tests:

  • Visual acuity

This test measures the clarity of your vision or how well you can see. The specialist evaluates this with the use of an eye chart.

  • Colour blindness test

Eye specialists conduct this test to rule out colour blindness and detect conditions that may affect your colour vision.

  • Refraction test

This eye test detects and measures nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. Your ophthalmologist will use the results of this exam for your eyeglass or contact lens prescription.

  • Ocular motility testing

This test evaluates how well your eyes can follow a moving object and how quickly and accurately they move and work together.

  • Keratometry or topography

Ophthalmologists conduct these tests to measure the curvature of the cornea and use the results to determine the correct fit for prescription contact lenses.

  • Stereopsis test

This eye exam is used to evaluate your depth perception.

  • Glaucoma testing

An ophthalmologist or glaucoma specialist in Dubai will use an applanation tonometry or non-contact tonometry test to check if the fluid pressure inside your eyes is normal. These procedures are painless and will detect glaucoma, a condition that damages the eyes’ optic nerves.

Your ophthalmologist may conduct other tests when they see fit.


Q. What Conditions Can an Eye Examination Detect?

  1. A comprehensive eye exam can detect various eye conditions. 

As mentioned, a refraction test can detect myopia or near-sightedness, hyperopia or farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia.

The battery of tests you’ll undergo will also help the specialist identify the following conditions:

  • Optic neuritis
  • Ischemic optic disease
  • Retinal disease
  • Retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma


Q. Will My Eyes Hurt After the Eye Exam?

  1. No. Ophthalmologists use safe, special equipment, instruments and lights to look at your eyes. They also follow strict procedures while conducting the tests to minimise your discomfort.

If your doctor needs to dilate your eyes to check your retinas and optic nerves, your near vision will be blurry for several minutes after the exam. Your eyes may also become sensitive to light for the next few hours.

Although you will experience blurry vision and sensitivity to light after the procedure, the dilation test is painless.


Q. How Long Does an Eye Examination Take?

  1. A typical eye exam may last 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the equipment your doctor will use and specific tests you have to undergo.

Your ophthalmologist may also ask you to return for additional tests if needed.


Q. How Do I Prepare for an Eye Exam?

  1. Before your appointment with your eye specialist in Dubai, write down the symptoms you’re experiencing and questions you want to ask your doctor.

If you’re wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses, bring them with you, including the original prescription. 

Bring a pair of sunglasses as well so that you can reduce the sensitivity you’ll feel when you go outdoors after undergoing a dilation test.


Q. What Should I Avoid Before an Eye Exam?

  1. To help your specialist get accurate results, avoid doing the following at least the day before your eye exam:
  • Sleeping too late. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep the night before your appointment.
  • Overexerting your eyes. Reduce the time you spend staring at your computer or mobile device to avoid eye fatigue.
  • Drinking too much coffee and alcohol. These beverages can cause dry eyes and affect the quality of your vision and test results.
  • Wearing too much eye makeup. Although you remove your eye makeup at night, some particles can be left behind on your eyelash follicles, which can make it hard for your ophthalmologist to check your eyes.


Q. How Often Should I Get an Eye Exam?

  1. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends the following frequency or schedule for eye exams by age:
  • Children under two should undergo an eye exam between six and 12 months of age.
  • Children between three and five years should get an eye test at least once during this period.
  • Kids aged six to 17 need to undergo this exam before their first grade and once a year subsequently. Patients at risk of eye or vision conditions may go through more eye tests.
  • Adults aged 18 to 64 must undergo eye tests every two years.
  • Patients 65 years old and older have to get the exam annually.
  • Adults at high risk for or who already have eye or vision conditions need to get an eye test once a year.

Want to know more about eye exams? Send us a message or contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.