If it is a routine eye exam, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes. In a routine eye test, the person undergoing eye exam usually does not have any complaints.
Basic tests include:
- Visual acuity
- Eye pressure test
- Assessment of refractive status of the eye
- Slit-lamp examination of the anterior segment of the eyes
- Quick examination of central retina
If the person has any eye complaints, the time taken for the whole eye exam will depend on what specific complaint the patient has. Depending on the complaints, the patient may undergo further tests to investigate in that direction.
For example, if glaucoma is suspected, more tests are performed to assess the severity of the disease and amount of damage to the eyes. This may involve examination of the optic nerve, measurement of eye pressure with applanation tonometer, visual field assessment and retinal nerve fiber analysis. This may need an extra hour for the complete eye examination.
Similarly, if there is a need to dilate the pupil by putting dilator eye drops for further assessment of posterior segment (which includes retina and optic nerve mainly), that itself may take up to 30-40 minutes.
Depending on expected and unexpected findings during your eye exam, more tests may be performed to diagnose the condition and decide the treatment.
It should be kept in mind that the estimated durations mentioned above do not include the time spent in waiting for your turn for consultation and tests.
So the bottom line is that when you want to have an eye exam, you should be mentally prepared to spend more than expected time. It’s equally important to understand that long duration and multiple tests for eye exam does not necessarily mean that you will be handed over a scary diagnosis. Tests may be negative for what is suspected. It is always better to do further tests or investigations if some serious disease is suspected. Ruling out such conditions would make sure that they are not missed and mismanaged.