Routine Eye Care

What Is Routine Eye Care?

It is a crucial part of taking care of the health of our body as it is a periodic assessment by an optometrist to check the clarity of vision and overall eye health. If an individual requires or already wears corrective glasses or contact lenses, the evaluation will show if there are updates and changes in the patient’s eyesight.

Routine testing is critical for preventing eye diseases and detecting early signs of conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and many other disorders. Frequency is usually determined based upon individual age, health, and family history. Speak with your optometrist to determine what is best for you.

Many experts recommend that children have an eye assessment before starting grade school, followed by annual testing. Healthy adults usually receive more comprehensive tests following age 40, provided there isn't an underlying condition or medical history.

What to Expect at an Eye Exam

An eye exam on average usually takes 30 minutes or less. Depending upon the findings, further testing may be required. The optometrist will begin the appointment by asking you questions about your eye health and about your medical history. Always inform the optometrist of any eye issues you may be experiencing.

Standard Tests

The eye exam includes the following tests: 

  • Visual acuity: This checks overall clarity of vision. You will be asked to read from the Snellen Chart where the letters decrease in size as you progress down the chart. You will probably recognize this well known chart by the large E at the top as it is a standard tool for checking how well a patient can see.

    If the patient is a young child who has not learnt the alphabet yet, the optometrist will use a chart with various well known symbols, such as a picture of a house or butterfly to test how well the child can see.

  • Binocular testing: This is an assessment of how well the eyes work in unison, both while looking close up and while looking at a distance. In the cover test, each eye is covered one at a time while the patient focuses on an object. The optometrist observes how one eye responds while the other eye is being covered which can provide important information on how the eyes work together as a team.

  • Stereopsis: You will be given polaroid glasses to allow you to see certain images up close in 3D and this evaluates your depth perception.

  • Near Point of Convergence: This measures the ability your eyes have to move inwards in sync in order to focus on a target up close.

  • Eye movements: The optometrist will check how smoothly your eyes can move in all directions without causing any discomfort. 

  • Visual Field Screening: An evaluation is performed to determine if there are any visual field defects. You will be asked to focus on a central target while identifying how many fingers the optometrist is holding up at different points in the periphery. 

  • Refraction: The optometrist will determine your current and accurate prescription to decide if you need glasses or contact lenses. There are various tools and tests that the optometrist will perform in order to arrive at your prescription using both subjective and objective methods. Different lenses are used and you will be asked which options allow you to see more clearly.

    Through refraction, the optometrist will let you know if you are nearsighted (known medically as myopia) or farsighted (hyperopia). It’s also possible that you have an astigmatism which is typically when your eye is not perfectly round and therefore another element called a cylinder is added to your prescription to correct the astigmatism and allow for clear vision.

  • Evaluating the health of the eye: The optometrist will assess the health of your eyes through a visual inspection. This includes shining a retinoscope on the pupil to assess the response to light. Additionally dilating eye drops are administered to enlarge the pupils and to enable a complete evaluation of the eye through fundoscopy which uses a light and a magnifying lens to inspect the critical retina section at the back of the eye.

    Depending on age and medical history, testing for glaucoma may become part of routine evaluations. It is an easy way to prevent the onset of this condition, by assessing the eye pressure.


Possible Outcomes of the Eye Exam

At the end of your eye exam, the optometrist will explain to you all of the findings and any questions that you have will be addressed. You will be informed if you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/ or an astigmatism and the optometrist will discuss with you options for glasses and/ or contact lenses. 

If any eye drops or medical prescriptions are needed, the optometrist will provide you with a prescription and explanation. If more testing is needed, it will be discussed with you when and where is the best time and place to do that.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. It's very advisable to bring your current prescription glasses to the appointment.  Assessments for refraction may indicate a need for changes to your prescriptions.

Yes. Exams are essential for maintaining eyesight and preventing and detecting complications. Additionally, many conditions are hard to detect, and they take time to fully manifest. There are excellent tools to prevent future problems.  Eye health is more than just how well you see.

There are several steps that are recommended to take good care of your eyes:

  • Schedule routine eye exams as recommended by your optometrist
  • Eating healthily, engaging in physical activity, and refraining from smoking or high consumption of alcohol contributes to good eye health
  • Wear sunglasses and, when relevant, protective goggles, if you engage in activities where there is a risk of sustaining an eye injury
  • Be careful to avoid touching your eyes. If you have to touch your eyes, such as when applying contact lenses, be sure to wash your hands first and to practice hygienic recommendations
  • Monitor and follow up if any signs of infection, allergy or trauma are detected in your eyes such as redness, swelling, pain/ discomfort, double or blurred vision or if there is a loss of vision
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

What to Expect at an Eye Exam

An eye exam on average usually takes 30 minutes or less. Depending upon the findings, further testing may be required. The optometrist will begin the appointment by asking you questions about your eye health and about your medical history. Always inform the optometrist of any eye issues you may be experiencing.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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