A basic eye exam usually begins with the eye care provider taking a medical history and asking questions about the patient's general health and
past and current eye problems. During the examination, three areas of eye function are assessed: visual acuity and refraction, binocular vision(how the eyes work together), and eye health.
A refraction test helps determine the extent of a patient's refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism), as well as the proper prescription for glasses and contact lenses.
A small handheld instrument called a retinoscope is used to examine light refraction of the eye.
The retinoscope shines light into the eye and the physician looks through the instrument and measures refraction by the movement of the light that comes off the retina. At the same time, the patient's eyes are looking through an instrument called a phoropter, which resembles a very large pair of binoculars. Lenses with dioptric power are placed before the eyes until the patient sees as clearly as possible.
This final combination of lenses is the patient's