Isaac Porter, MD covers the basics of an annual routine eye exam, including refraction (measuring the prescription for glasses with different lenses), eye pressure check, and dilated examination in this episode of A State of Sight. Regular eye exams are an important component of overall health.

Welcome to A State of Sight, your weekly update in ophthalmology and eye care, I’m Isaac Porter and we’re coming to you live from Raleigh, NC at Lowry Porter Ophthalmology. In this episode, I would like to give you the details of what’s involved in a routine eye exam.
Many of our patients wonder what happens when they come in for an eye exam and a lot of people haven’t had one before, so this will give you the basics.
First, we will check your medical history and record your eye history. This includes any problems with vision like wearing glasses or contacts or any injuries or operations on your eyes. After that, we will check your vision with your current glasses or contact lenses.
Then we use this instrument called a phoropter to measure the prescription that will give your best vision (a refraction). One of my patients last week commented that she remembered this same instrument from when she was very young getting her eyes checked. It is a very dependable and reliable instrument which hasn’t changed much over many years.
Basically, it’s a setup of many lenses which we can use to determine your best prescription. It corrects for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Once we have your refraction measured, we will be able to order a pair of glasses or fit you for contact lenses that can give you more freedom than glasses.
After that, I will use this microscope, called a slit lamp, to examine your eye in detail. It gives me very good magnification and I can examine the health of the eye including the cornea and the lens. Also I can determine if there are any diseases or eye problems. This attachment will help me check the pressure of the eye. Some people who have high pressure in the eye can develop glaucoma.
Then, we will give your eyes drops to dilate your pupils, which usually lasts about 3-4 hours. When the pupils are dilated, it can be very blurry to see up close and it’ll be very bright when you go out in the sunlight or bright light. Because of this, most people are more comfortable wearing sunglasses after the eye exam until the dilation wears off.
Once your eyes are dilated, I can use special lenses like this to examine the retina in the back of the eye. The retina is like the camera film / light sensors where images are detected by the eye.
The retina takes the picture and transmits that information back to the brain through the optic nerve. Another instrument I can use is this headlight (indirect ophthalmoscope) along with a larger lens like this one which gives a wider view of the retina.
If you have any other questions about a routine eye exam please post, we will be happy to answer them. Since this was filmed during Thanksgiving week, I hope everyone has a great time with friends and family during this season. We hope to see you again on the next episode of A State of Sight.