Acing that eye exam

If you're a high achiever, you might feel unsettled by the idea of an eye exam, wondering just what your optometrist will do, and how to get a great score. Relax, having your eyes examined is a painless process that will ensure you get the right prescription for your unique eyes. Best of all, this is one test you can't possibly fail.

Still worried? Here it is - your eye exam cheat sheet.

Your optometrist will choose from a diverse range of tests when examining your eyes, from simply asking you to read an eye chart to much more complex tests designed to pinpoint the detailed architecture of your eyes with great accuracy. Depending on your vision you might undergo the following tests:

  • Visual acuity. Usually the first test your optometrist will bring out is the eye chart. Designed to gauge how sharp your sight is, the test requires you to read letters of steadily decreasing size. A chart projected onto a screen is used to measure your distance vision, and a hand held variation will be used to determine your close vision.

  • Cover test. In order to understand the way your eyes cooperate, your optometrist may administer the cover test. This simple eye exam requires you to cover each eye in turn while you stare at a small point on the other side of the room. Your optometrist will be watching for movement in the uncovered eye as it seeks out the target, which is sometimes indicative of a range of eye problems.

  • Eye movement. An eye movement or ocular motility test is used to diagnose issues with the movement of your eyes that might cause eye strain. You'll follow a light or other object without turning your head to ace this one.

  • Colour blindness. If your optometrist thinks colour blindness may be an issue for you, you'll be asked to stare at a mass of coloured dots. Find the number hidden in its centre and you've passed the test.

  • Depth perception. If your depth perception is problematic you'll have trouble seeing objects in three dimensions. The stereopsis or depth perception test will require you to don a pair of glamorous 3D glasses, stare at a chart and pick the closest circle from a group.

  • Specialist tests. Depending on the state of your eyes your optometrist might recommend a range of other tests designed to check for anything from glaucoma to blind spots.

Once you've sat your test your optometrist will start to work up the best prescription for you. They will use a range of tests to  approximate and then perfect your script, starting with retinoscopy and moving through refraction, autorefraction and the use of an aberrometer.

After that, it's over, and you'll be released to pick out some groovy frames. So take a deep breath, settle back in that chair and before you know it you'll be passing your eye exam with flying colours!