A partnership promoting eye health and vision care
Man having an eye test

What is an eye test?

Regular eye tests are important to detect and diagnose eye problems early. Eye tests can be arranged through an optometrist, by referral to an ophthalmologist or you can speak to your GP. Referrals to an ophthalmologist can be made by a GP or an optometrist.

Read the transcript in English

Eye tests carried out by an eye health professional will usually include the following common tests:

  • Checking the strength and control of the muscles in your eyes (eye movement and cover tests). This can help ensure eyes are working together and identify strabismus (cross eyes).
  • Making sure that you can read letters or identify symbols/shapes from close and from far away (visual acuity). This will help determine whether you need glasses and if so the precise prescription for your lenses (retinoscopy and refraction testing).
  • Checking the health of the outside of the eye and the reaction of the pupil to light (external exam and pupillary reactions).
  • Checking the health of the inside of the eye (slit lamp) including the cornea, iris, lens, and anterior chamber. This can help identify certain eye conditions.

Depending on your symptoms, eye health or family history, your eye test may also include:

  • Checking the back of the eye (retinal test or ophthalmoscopy), including the retina, retinal blood vessels, vitreous, and optic nerve head. This test will require for your pupils to be dilated with eye drops to allow a better view of the back of the eye. This can help identify certain eye conditions.
  • Checking the pressure inside the eye (‘puff of air’ or tonometry). This test can help identify glaucoma.
  • Checking your field of vision (visual field test or perimetry). This is to identify any patches or areas of vision loss.

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For more information

Visit the following websites:

Optometry Victoria (where you can also find optometrists in your local area)

Australian College of Optometry