Eye Exams

Your Eye Exam Checklist

  • Bring a list of any current medications to your appointment
  • Bring current prescription eyewear including prescription sunglasses and contact lenses/information (if applicable)
  • Bring your Health Card information
  • Bring your Vision Care Benefit Information to assist us in billing most Vision Care plans on your behalf (there will be a document for you to sign)
  • Communicate any personal health-related issues to the Optometrist when having your eyes examined, as well as any ocular health conditions pertaining to immediate family members (as some ocular health conditions can be hereditary)


When you first arrive at Burlington Eyecare, you will be registered by a Receptionist. Once you have been registered, one of our Optometric Assistants will begin with some screening tests or Pre-Tests as we call them. Depending on your age or situation you could have up to four pre-tests completed.

Autorefractor: This is a computerized instrument which can approximate the glasses prescription required for an individual. This is completed as part of our pretesting, before you see the doctor. To complete this test you place your chin on a chin rest and look inside a machine at an image which will fade in and out of focus. The doctor uses this information as a starting point to determine your final glasses prescription. While the results of this test can be quite accurate, sometimes what the computer suggests and what you prefer for your glasses prescription can be quite different. It too can be helpful for young children and individuals who are non-verbal.  

NCT (Non-Contact Tonometry): This is also known to patients as the “air puff” test. This test is also completed as part of our pretesting. For this test, you place your chin on a chin rest and you look at a light inside a machine. The machine will blow a small puff of air at your eye. This enables us to know what the pressures inside the eyes are. This is an important test for detection of glaucoma. Another way of testing the pressures inside the eyes is by using a Perkins Tonometer. This involves putting an eye drop in your eye along with some yellow dye. The doctor will look at your eye with a blue light as you look straight ahead to determine the intraocular pressures.  

Visual Field Testing: This test involves placing your chin on a rest, and watching for various flickers of light. Whenever a flicker is seen, you will be asked to click a button. This machine will test areas of your vision to determine the extent of your field of vision. In pretesting we use a screening visual field test called an FDT (Frequency Doubling Test) for all adult patients; however, should further visual field testing be required, we may further examine with a Humphrey Visual Field Test. Some eye diseases, such as glaucoma can cause visual field loss, as well as brain damage due to stroke or brain tumor. We may also complete this testing if required by the Ministry of Transportation to ensure a patient’s vision is adequate for safe driving.  

OCT (Optical Coherence Test): This is a very useful scan of the inside of the back of the eye! It captures both a photo of the retina and a cross-sectional scan of the back of the eye at the same time. It is used in our office for both routine screening and to monitor various eye diseases including macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes, macular holes, vitreous detachments and others. For you, it involves nothing but placing your chin on the chin rest and looking at a fixation target. Your optometrist will review the resulting images with you.      
Once your pre-testing is complete, you will be seen by one of our Optometrists to complete your full eye exam. During your exam the doctors will do a series of tests which may include all or most of the following.

Visual Acuity Testing: This is the method in which your optometrist measures your far and close vision. They will have you read out letters/numbers/pictures on an eye chart across the room as well as on a card held close.

Colour Vision Testing: This is completed either by naming numbers in a book or arranging coloured caps. This is typically completed as part of vision testing for children in order to rule out a colour vision deficiency. This test may also be useful to alert the eye doctor to other potential eye health problems as well.  

Cover Testing: This test is completed so the eye doctor can assess how your eyes work together. The doctor will ask you to look at a target and cover your eyes alternately. This test can help determine if strabismus (an eye turn) is present or indicate an abnormality in how your eyes work together which could be causing eye strain. 

Ocular Motility Testing: This test involves moving your eyes to follow a moving target. This enables the doctor to ensure both eyes can move smoothly into all positions of gaze. Difficulty with eye movements can cause eye strain and difficulty reading.

Stereoacuity: This test gives a measure of one’s fine depth perception. The doctor will have you put on a pair of “3D” glasses and ask you to identify objects which appear closer to you. Poor depth perception can impact your mobility, driving and fine motor skills.

Refraction: This test is completed by the doctor to determine one’s prescription for glasses. The doctor will put an instrument, called a phoropter, in front of your eyes and show you various lenses. By having you respond to which lenses make your vision clearest, the doctor will adjust and fine-tune the lens power to determine your final prescription for glasses.  

Retinoscopy: This is also a method of checking the prescription required for glasses; however, it is completed without input from you. Typically this is completed for a child who is too young to identify letters/numbers or for an individual who is non-verbal. This involves dimming the lights and focusing on a distance target. The eye doctor will shine a light in your eye and adjust lenses in front of your eyes. The doctor can tell by the way the light reflects back from your eye which prescription is required for your glasses.

Slit Lamp Examination: The slit lamp is nothing more than a large microscope. It enables the doctor to look at the fine details of your eyes. This is the part of your eye exam where the doctor will examine the various parts of the eye including the eyelids, cornea, conjunctiva, iris, and lens. The doctor also typically uses a hand held lens to look into the back of the eye to examine the vitreous (which is the clear gel inside the eye) and retina.  

Ophthalmoscopy: For patients who are too young to use the slit lamp or who have limited mobility, the ophthalmoscope can be used to look inside the eyes. It is a handheld device with a bright light which comes close to the eye to examine the insides of the eyes.  

Pupil Dilation: This is typically done for new patients, patients with particular eye diseases, and periodically for routine examination of the peripheral retina. Eye drops are instilled into the eyes which open the pupils. The drops take about 15-30 minutes to take effect. Following pupil dilation the doctor can see into the very far corners of the eyes to give you the most thorough evaluation of the insides of your eyes. Following your examination it is typical to feel somewhat blurred and light sensitive. We recommend you bring sunglasses if your doctor is planning on completing this with you, and if you feel uncomfortable driving following your dilated examination, you are welcome to bring a driver.  

Contact Lens Assessment: If you are a contact lens wearer, the doctor will examine your contact lenses on your eyes to check both your vision and the fitting of your lenses. The doctor may assess and confirm good vision and fitting of the lenses and your contact lens supply will be refilled; however, if there is a problem, a new lens material, altered lens design or change in prescription may be required. It is important to your doctor that your vision, comfort and ocular health are optimal during contact lens wear.  
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