Everything You Need to Know About Taking an Eye Test

Your eyes are two of the most important parts of your body and it is essential they are in tip-top health – but we’re guessing you already know it’s important to care for your eyes… because you’re reading this!

All opticians suggest that everybody should have regular eye tests – regardless of whether they wear glasses or not. Ophthalmic institutions recommend you should visit your local optician once every two years to have your eyes tested.

Those same institutions know that more than half of us have not had a recent eye test – with most people believing they don’t really need one, and many wondering if it’s really worth the time and the expense* of getting them checked.

We’ve put together a little guide explaining why, in fact, it’s a very good idea to get your eyes checked, and that’s why we’re calling it:

Understanding Eye Problems

So, optometrists recommend that everyone over the age of 16 should have an eye test every two years, and even more frequently if they have an eye problem. In your child’s case, testing should be carried out annually.

Eye Test

Why you need an eye test?

Preventative care: Eye tests can spot medical problems before other symptoms appear. For example, diabetes and high blood pressure both lead to changes in the blood vessels at the back of your eye. Glaucoma is another – you’re unlikely to know you’ve got it until you start losing your vision. Regular eye check-ups can pick it up in its earliest stages giving you a better chance of receiving treatment before it’s too late.

Add to this age-related macular degeneration (which causes you to you lose vision directly in front of you), and cataracts, (which cloud your vision), and you’ve got a whole list of reasons to get yourself checked.

You’re getting on a bit: quite simply, age takes a relentless toll on our eyes. Between the ages of 40 and 60 we’re most likely to see the greatest impact on our vision. However, eye care isn’t totally ageist – it makes sense at every time of life! Without help, your eyes can remain constantly tired, and you’re likely to suffer from persistent headaches. These are nothing a pair of glasses or contact lenses couldn’t fix.

You’ve living in the 21st century: not every technological advance of the past decades has turned out to be your eyes’ best friends! Staring at a computer screen tires the eyes – and it makes us blink (and lubricate our eyes) far less often! Also, with our eyes focused at between 30 and 50 centimeters for much of the day, we can end up with weaker ocular muscles!

If it most of us aren’t getting our eyes tested every two years, we pretty much all know we should be. Let’s look at what happens when you book your eye test.

* at MAGRABi, you can take their M Test – a full eye test – for free

Eye exam

What will happen during my eye test?

Well, if it’s a while since you last went, you’ll be amazed at the improvement technology has made on the speed and accuracy in testing eyes. During a comprehensive eye-exam, your highly-trained optician may test you for the following (but not necessarily in this order!) using painless and non-invasive methods:

Visual acuity tests

The basic. This is a test of your sharpness of vision. It may still be conducted the traditional way – with you viewing a wall chart at a distance to see how far down the page you can continue to read the letters clearly – but is more likely to be carried out today with you looking in to the view finder of acuity testing apparatus. Both achieve the same result.


Another of the basics, and you’re likely to get this over with early. Here, you’ll be asked to focus on the largest letter on the chart. With the lights dimmed, your optician will shine a light in your eye while flipping optical lenses in front of your eyes.

Depending on how the light reflects from your eye, your optician can use his training to accurately judge the strength of lens (if any) you’ll require to correct your vision.


Your optician runs this test to determine your exact eyeglass prescription. Using an instrument called a phoropter, you’ll be given time to view through a series of lenses, and to judge which is clearer. It’s simple; and you and your optician keep going (it’s super-fast) until he’s nailed your prescription to a T.

Here’s the science part: the recorded amount of refraction determines your level of hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia.

Color blindness test

A check on your color vision. Many people remain unaware that they have color vision deficiencies, and it’s perfectly possible to go through life unhindered by this. However, as well as detecting hereditary color blindness (because, actually, you’re better off knowing than not knowing), this test can alert your optician to any underlying eye health issues that you have, or that may go on to affect your eyesight further.

Cover test

Your eyes were designed to operate best as a pair, and the cover test is the simplest way to ensure they still are!

How does it work? Your optician will ask you to focus on a point across the room. Then he’ll cover one of your eyes at a time as you stare at the target. He’ll repeat the test with you looking at a near object.

By assessing whether the uncovered eye moved to pick up the focal point, he’ll be able to judge any indication of issues that could lead to eye strain or amblyopia (aka lazy eye).

Stereopsis test

Another test to ensure your eyes are functioning well as a pair! This test measures your depth perception; basically, your eye / brain appreciation of the 3-dimensional nature of things!

To gauge perfect ‘eye teaming’, you’ll be shown a series of test patterns. Each consisting of four circles, you’ll need to identify which circle in each pattern looks closest to you. Sounds easy? If it is… you’ve passed the test!

Ocular motility

It’s like a mini workout for your eyes. Your optician will ask you to hold your head still and have your eyes follow the slow movement of a light with your eyes. Here, he’s testing your smooth eye movements. To test quick eye movements, he’ll ask you to look (quickly, obviously) back and forth between two points some distance apart.

Any anomalies here could predict future eye strain, or affect your ability to read comfortably.

Slit lamp exam

Here’s where your optician gets to look deep in to your soul – or deep inside your eyes at least. He’ll use a biomicroscope to examine the structure of your eyes.

By placing your chin in a support, your head will be held still. He’ll be looking for regular form and function of your eyelids, cornea, conjunctiva, iris, and lens. He may also use a hand-held glass to study your retina and optic nerve.

The test is useful for picking up macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.

Visual field test

Your optician may check you for ‘blind spots’. You may not have noticed them (because the brain does a very good job of filling in the blanks), but occasionally blind spots can occur due to eye diseases – including glaucoma. They may also appear following a stroke or a tumor.

Glaucoma test

You’ve probably already heard of this, and perhaps had a family member already take it. It’s also known as ‘the puff-of-air test’!

It’s completely painless – and contact free. Your optician will puff a small burst of air on to your eye. Using a machine called a tonometer he’s measuring the pressure inside your eyes.

If you have high eye pressure, you may be at risk of, or have, glaucoma.

This condition has no overt warning signs, and can cause blindness. For this reason, a glaucoma test is highly recommended!

Pupil dilation

Your optician may decide to examine your eyes further. He can easily do this by dilating your pupils. Placing a few drops of a medicated fluid on to your pupils is painless, and will see your pupils dilate (grow larger) over a period of the next twenty to thirty minutes. Quite simply – it gives him a better view inside your eye!

Although painless, it is advisable that you bring sunglasses with you (your eye will be letting in far more light than usual), and be aware that until the effect wears off you may have some difficulty in focusing on close objects.

Equally, he may decide to take an ultra-high definition photograph of the inside of your eye without the need for dilation. Ask him first if you’re unsure which route you prefer.

MAGRABi Eye Test

M Test at MAGRABi

With our great free eye test offer there’s never been a better time to book your M Test at MAGRABi.

Having an eye test is a key part of keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear. That’s why an M Test should be a regular part of everyone’s health regime, and why we offer it for free.

Our optometrist will make recommendations with regards to reviewing the strength of your lenses and eyewear. Taking your free M Test is quick and easy!

Take a walk-in appointment at any MAGRABi store or contact us ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

Eye Test

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