How does the visual system work?

We offer two types of eye exams; routine and developmental.

Routine Exams

Routine exams examine the health of the eye, including cornea, retina, intraocular lens and checks (refracts) if the patient has any need for prescription eyewear. This exam takes approximately 20 minutes.

During this exam, several tests are performed:

  • Visual Acuity
  • Color Blindness
  • Cover Test
  • Refraction
  • Slit lamp Exam
  • Glaucoma Test
  • Pupil Dilation

Developmental Eye Exams

Developmental Eye Exams are specialized exams done when a patient continues to have symptoms even after a refractive error has been detected and/or prescription eyewear is prescribed. This exam takes approximately 1 hour, and typically results in a recommendation for Vision Therapy.

During this exam, several measurements are performed in order to determine if the Visual System is functioning properly.

  • Eye Alignment - Near and Far
  • Focusing - Near and Far
  • Eye Teaming - Eye Tracking
  • Stamina of Eye muscles
  • Brain - Eye Interaction
  • Eye Fixation
  • Flexibility of the Visual System

Learn more by visiting our Advanced Vision Therapy Center.

A digital retinal camera allows Dr. Lauver to look behind the eye.

What to Expect During a Comprehensive Eye Exam

During an eye exam, Optometrists and ophthalmologists use a variety of instruments to test and diagnose any problems with your eyes. These procedures are painless.

A comprehensive eye exam usually takes 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the doctor and the number test required to comprehensively evaluate your eye health and vision.

Below is a list of eye and vision tests that you will encounter during your comprehensive eye exam:

Visual Acuity Test/Eyechart

An eyechart is a random display of letters set across the room which are used to test your distance vision. Comprehensive eye exams also incorporate a visual acuity test that measures the sharpness of your vision.

Color Blindness Test

A screening test which checks your ability to see color. This part of the exam is often performed at the beginning of a comprehensive eye exam to rule out color blindness. Another reason a color blind tests is performed is to rule out other possible eye health problems which are linked to color blindness.

Cover Test

To ensure your eyes work together, the cover test is performed. This test is used to check your eye alignment. Your eye doctor will have you focus on a small object across the room, and then ask you to cover each of your eyes while you fixate upon that object.

This test is performed to rule out strabismus or other more subtle binocular vision problems which may indicate eye strain or amblyopia ("lazy eye").


This is the test used to determine your exact eyeglass prescription. A phoropter is placed in front of your eyes while you fixate on an eye chart. During the refraction, the phoroptor will be used to show you a series of lens choices. Your eye doctor will then give you two choices and ask which is clearer.

Based on your answers, your eye doctor can continue to fine-tune your eyeglass lens power also referred to as your prescription. The refraction test is also used to determines your level of hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia.

Slit-Lamp Examination

The slit lamp or microscope is an instrument used to examine the health of the exterior of your eyes. A slit lamp allows your eye doctor see highly magnified views of the eye to detect any signs of infection or disease. You will be asked to place your chin on the chin rest of the slit lamp and then a light is shined into your eyes. The doctor then looks through the slip lamp and carefully examines all parts of your eyes. These parts include examining your eye lids, cornea, conjunctiva, and iris. Then, with a higher-powered lens, your doctor will examine the inside of your eye which includes the retina, optic nerve, macula and much more.

This test is helpful in detecting cataracts, macular degeneration, corneal ulcers, diabetic retinopathy, to name a few.

The Glaucoma Test

Glaucoma tests are designed to measure the pressure inside your eyes. Higher than normal pressures indicate a need to test further for Glaucoma. Advanced technology now allows us to test the for glaucoma with out ever touching. No more puff of air!

This also means that, as long as there is no family history of glaucoma or other such eye conditions, you will not need to be dilated.

Pupil Dilation

To obtain a better view of your eye's internal structures, your eye doctor will dilate your eyes by using drops to enlarge your pupils. These drops usually take about 20 to 30 minutes to fully dilate the pupil.

Exam of retina or back of the eye is done after the pupil if fully dilated. A variety of instruments are used to look inside your eyes. You should bring sunglasses with you to your eye exam, as you will be sensitive to light on the way home.

In lieu of dilation and depending on your family history, our office may use a retinal camera to view the details of the back of the eye. This test is also painless and will not require your eyes to be dilated, saving you time.


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Strasburg Office


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