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What to Expect: A Comprehensive Exam at The Eye Institute

Eye examA comprehensive eye exam at The Eye Institute (TEI) is a unique experience for any patient. As the clinical facility for Salus University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry, the staff, doctors and optometric interns utilize some of the latest technology and provide a wide array of specialty services. An exam at TEI is not like the typical quick trip to your local optometrist; TEI’s exams are much more comprehensive with students and doctors alike performing the tests. The goal is to provide our patients with the highest-quality service and ensure all of their vision issues are addressed properly.

Here’s what most patients can expect when they come to TEI.

Checking in for your appointment

When you arrive at the patient entrance to TEI, you must check in at the front desk. They will record that you are present and have you fill out paperwork prior to your appointment. You may have to provide proof of insurance and include an overview of your medical history. Then you will wait until your name is called; an optometric intern  will bring you back into a patient exam room.

During your appointment

TEI is first and foremost a clinical training facility for doctor of optometry students at Salus University so most tests are performed by the optometric intern. The student is in his or her third year and has had intensive training prior to performing your exam. The student is also under the care of a professional, credentialed doctor throughout your exam. Other students may be present to observe as well.

They will take a thorough overview of your medical history, including any health issues that are present and any medications you currently take. It will speed the process along if you bring a list of all the names and doses of your medications. Please be able to describe why you take each medication.

Prior to performing any tests, the student will take your blood pressure. Certain eye drops can cause changes in blood pressure, which may not be safe for all patients.

Eye examThe student will then begin performing some or all of the following tests:

  • Visual acuity testing – how far away and close up you can see
  • Cover test – measures the resting positions of your eyes
  • Pupil test – how reactive your pupils are to light
  • Peripheral and central vision tests – check for any defects or blind spots in your central or peripheral vision
  • Light tests – tracks the ability of your eyes to follow a light
  • Color vision – determines whether or not there is a color deficiency present
  • If any abnormalities are found more tests may be performed

From there, they will determine your prescription. Typically, a device is used to create a trial prescription to see if it would work for you in your everyday life.  The student then looks at the overall health of your eye to make sure your eyes can handle being dilated. A dye is placed in both eyes so the student can check your eye’s pressure using a blue light, which is placed close to the eye.

The student will present all their findings to the professional optometrist (the preceptor). They may double check some of the tests and confirm it is safe to have your eyes dilated. If everything is normal, you will receive three drops in each eye. You will then be escorted back to the waiting room where you will wait about 15-20 minutes or longer, depending on how quickly your eyes react, for your eyes to be dilated. You will then be brought back to the exam room for further testing.

Tests will examine:

  • The health of your lens
  • The health of your retina

Once again, the student will explain their discoveries to the preceptor who may recheck certain tests. All findings will be discussed with you in detail.

Contact Lenses

If you wish to have contact lenses in addition to glasses, make sure you tell your doctors and the front desk prior to your exam as this requires a separate exam.

Man trying on glassesOptical Center

Following your exam, our doctors will give you a prescription for a new pair of glasses. TEI has a full-service optical center on site where you may browse hundreds of frame options. The staff will assist you with selection and fitting. You can choose your glasses right after your exam or come back at another time.

After Your Appointment

We encourage patients to have a family member drive them from the appointment as having dilated eyes can make it difficult to see well while driving. If you have any questions or concerns after your appointment, please call us at 215-276-6000. Prior to the due date of your next eye exam, you should receive a reminder card in the mail with the anticipated date of your next appointment. Please make sure to schedule your recommended appointment to ensure your eyes are treated properly, especially if you have a vision issue that requires more frequent exams.