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How Long Does an Eye Exam Take?

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An optometrist conducting an eye exam on her patient using a slit lamp.

An eye exam is an important part of maintaining your vision health. But how long does it take? Generally, an eye exam can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the type of exam you’re having

During the exam, your optometrist will check your vision, eye health, and eye alignment. They may also check your eye pressure and look for signs of any eye diseases. Your optometrist may also ask you questions about your lifestyle and vision problems

After the exam, your optometrist will discuss the results with you and provide any necessary treatment or advice. Regular eye exams help protect your vision and eye health and can catch potential problems early.

Preparing for an Eye Exam

Whether it’s your first time or you’ve had an eye exam before, being well-prepared can make a significant difference in how smoothly your appointment goes. Here are some tips to help you get ready for your next eye exam:

  • Know what to expect: Eye exams typically last between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the nature of the examination. Knowing the duration beforehand can help you plan your schedule accordingly. Ask your eye care team for an approximation before you take time off work. 
  • Make a list: Before your appointment, jot down any questions or concerns for your eye doctor. This way, you won’t forget anything during the exam, and you can be sure to address all your queries.
  • Take note of medications: Bring a list of all your current medications, including eye drops and supplements. Certain medications can impact your eye health, so it’s vital for your doctor to be aware of them.
  • Bring your glasses or contacts: If you wear glasses or contact lenses, bring them along to your appointment. Your eye doctor may want to assess your current prescription and determine if any adjustments are needed.
  • Understand the tests: Eye exams often involve various tests to evaluate your vision and eye health. They may include visual acuity tests, where you read letters from a chart, refraction tests to determine your prescription, and glaucoma tests to measure eye pressure. Familiarize yourself with these tests so you’ll know what to expect.
  • Be ready for eye dilation: Eye dilation is sometimes used for comprehensive eye exams. Dilation allows your doctor to examine the back of your eye more thoroughly. However, it can cause temporary blurred vision and sensitivity to light after dilation, which can last a few hours. If you’re having a dilated eye exam, you’ll need a ride home after.  
  • Discuss your lifestyle: Inform your eye doctor about your daily activities, such as work or hobbies, that may impact your vision. This information can help them tailor recommendations specifically for you.
  • Follow-up care: After the exam, your eye doctor will discuss the results with you and provide any necessary treatment or follow-up care. Make sure to ask any additional questions you might have during this discussion.

What to Expect After an Eye Exam

A close-up of a man using eye drops.

After the exam, your optometrist will discuss the results with you and provide you with a prescription for glasses or contact lenses if needed. 

If you have any questions or concerns about your eye exam, don’t hesitate to ask. Your optometrist is there to help you maintain your vision health and can provide information on how to best care for your eyes. 

Once the exam is complete, it is crucial to adhere to any suggested treatment or follow-up care prescribed by your optometrist. This may include using eye drops, wearing glasses or contact lenses, or scheduling a follow-up appointment for further evaluation. 

Remember to also follow any lifestyle recommendations given by your optometrist, such as taking breaks from digital screens or protecting your eyes during outdoor activities. 

Get the Most Out of Your Eye Exam with Rutland Optometry

An eye exam is an important part of maintaining your eye health. An eye exam typically takes about an hour but can vary depending on the type of exam and the complexity of the patient’s eye health. At Rutland Optometry, our experienced optometrists will take the time to answer all of your questions and ensure that you get the most out of your eye exam. If you’re due for a comprehensive eye exam, contact Rutland Optometry today and get the care you need for your eyes.


Written by Dr. Sunil Parekh

Sunil grew up in Kamloops and then completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo.
This led him to London, England, where he completed his optometry degree and gained experience at the world-renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital. After enjoying travelling around Europe with his wife, the two decided to make the move back to Canada and settle in the Okanagan. Sunil enjoys managing many eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. In his spare time, he enjoys working out and travelling.

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