Approximately 60% of Canadians have some sort of eye condition that requires vision correction. The only way these problems can be properly detected is if they visit an eye clinic or optometrist. Once an appointment is scheduled, an individual should know what to expect during the check-up. There are a multitude of different eye exams that an optometrist can perform to find out the underlying cause and appropriate treatment for eye problems. As clients, we should be prepared with the right knowledge of what to expect during an eye exam so we can better understand what each of these tests are for.


This is the test that optometrists put clients through to find out the specific prescription for each eye. During the exam, an optometrist will position the client behind a phoropter which is a large metal frame that houses several different lenses. A lens will be chosen and used to test the client’s eyesight. They will be asked to read text in the form of letters or numbers and depending on their answer, the optometrist might select a new lens or adjust the grade of the one currently in use. Based on the findings, an optometrist will be able to accurately determine their client’s prescription.

Cover Test

This is the simplest of all eye exams and only requires an instrument big enough to cover a patient’s eye. The optometrist will obstruct the vision one eye at a time and observe the movements of the free eye. This test helps to determine if eyes are properly aligned.

Pupil Dilation

An optometrist will drop a special kind of eye drops into your eyes to encourage papillary dilation. This allows the optometrist to get a better look at the internal structure of the eyes. The effect of the drops can last for as much as twenty minutes and could cause some vision difficulties. Make sure you come with a pair of sunglasses in case your optometrist performs this test.

Slit-Lamp Exam

Using a machine called a biomicroscope, the optometrist can get a better look into your eyes and examine each internal structure thoroughly. They can also gain a view of the lens behind your pupil which is an ideal vantage point for understanding whether or not you have any eye conditions that might need more than just a prescription for a pair of glasses.

Regular eye exams are key in getting the vision correction you need and an important component of preventative eye care. Contact us to schedule your next eye exam!