Whether you have healthy or poor vision, it is important to see an eye doctor regularly for proper testing. The overall health of your vision will help your doctor determine when further intervention is necessary.

There are certain types of tests that are performed for everyone during a comprehensive eye examination, such as visual acuity testing. (Learn More) For some people with specific vision issues, additional testing may be performed, such as testing for color blindness. (Learn More)

The doctor will begin by evaluating the state of your vision and eye health. From here, they can determine which tests are appropriate for your comprehensive eye examination.

The following types of tests highlight the wide variety of vision tests that are available.

Visual Acuity Testing

This type of test is done to determine how sharp your vision is. The doctor will usually have you look at an eye chart for this examination. They will ask you to read the numbers or letters that are present on a specific line.

In some cases, doctors give you a handheld chart. This one is used to determine how sharp your vision is close up.

Color Blindness Testing

Ophthalmologist doctor with the snellen chart

The Ishihara Color Vision Test is the color blindness test that is the most widely used.

For this test, you are asked to look at a booklet. There will be dots of varying brightness, colors, and sizes. If you have normal color vision, you will be able to pick out the number that is present among the dots.

Ocular Motility Testing

This test is done to see if your eyes are moving as they should. It tests your ability to accurately focus on two separate objects and follow a moving object.

This test is important because if you have abnormal eye movements, you are at a higher risk for affected reading ability and eye strain.

Cover Test

obscured view of young female patient getting eye test in clinic

This test allows doctors to determine your eye alignment. You will cover one eye and look across the room to see an object. This is also done on an object that is close to you.

During the test, the doctor is looking to see if you are showing symptoms of certain conditions, such as amblyopia or strabismus.


If you need a prescription for corrective lenses, a retinoscopy may be performed. The doctor is looking at the light reflection from your eye.

You will go into a dimmed room with the doctor. You will be asked to look at a specific letter on the eye chart. As you continue to stare at this letter, the doctor flips lenses and shines a light in front of your eyes. The purpose of this test is to get a lens power estimate for corrective lens prescriptions.

This test is ideal for people who are not able to sit up properly. It may also be helpful for babies and others who cannot raise their heads.

Depth Perception Test

This test is performed to evaluate your depth perception. It can also be used to determine if you are able to fully visualize three-dimensional objects.

For this test, you wear 3D glasses. There are test patterns in a booklet that you will examine. The doctor will ask you which of the circles appears closer than the others. If you choose the wrong circles, you may have a problem with your depth perception.

Autorefractors and Aberrometers

These are tools that doctors can use to estimate your corrective lenses prescription automatically. They are two different devices that have you look at a detailed image or a pinpoint of light.

Refraction Testing

refraction testing

When you go to the eye doctor to get a corrective lens prescription, this test is done to ensure your prescription is exact. The doctor uses a phoropter instrument for this test. They put it in front of your eyes while showing you a variety of lens choices.

You tell the doctor which of the lenses is the clearest. This test can be done to determine the level of farsightedness, presbyopia, nearsightedness, and astigmatism you have. Due to the level of accuracy, a doctor may prefer these tools over retinoscopy whenever possible.

Slit Lamp Examination

This examination involves the use of a binocular microscope. The doctor uses this microscope so they can get a better visual of your internal eye structures. It offers very high magnification, making it easier to spot abnormalities that are present.

The doctor may do this test as part of a routine eye examination. They might also recommend it if they suspect certain eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and corneal ulcers.

Pupil Dilation

This is another test that doctors might use to get a better visual of your internal eye structures. The doctor will apply eye drops to your eyes that dilate your pupils. You need to wait 20 to 30 minutes after the eye drops before the doctor can do the examination.

Visual Field Testing

visual field testing

If a doctor suspects that you may have blind spots in your vision, this is a test they may recommend. It allows the doctor to evaluate your peripheral vision.

Blind spots or reduced peripheral vision can occur as a result of several eye or brain conditions, such as stroke complications or glaucoma.

Maintaining Eye Health

It is important to see an eye doctor at least once a year. Depending on the health of your vision, the doctor will determine which types of vision tests are appropriate to evaluate your eye and vision health.


Color Blind Tests. All About Vision.

Going Old School: A Refresher on Retinoscopy. Review of Optometry.

Refraction Test. Healthline.

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