How can I pass an eye exam?

Yes the eye exam you take at an optometrist’s office. Every time I take one I feel like I don’t give the doctor accurate information.

So what’s so hard about saying whether you see better with lens one or two? Sometimes the two lenses look exactly the same and I feel like I don’t make a good call on which one looks better. Because I have astigmatism no lenses are going to give me perfect vision, so I have to choose the option that makes things the least blurry.

I got fitted for contact lenses yesterday and I got a new prescription. I don’t think I can see as well with the contact lenses as I can with my glasses. It’s also harder to read for more than an hour with my contacts (my head starts to hurt). I’ll get these issues settled with my doctor next week, but for now I want to know how the eye exam works. Should I just tell the doctor that the lines are all blurry, or should I try and figure out which one is blurry the least? I think there was some miss-communication during the exam I took yesterday and I somehow ended up with a bad prescription. Anything I can do to avoid this next time?

You’re not doing yourself any favors by giving the eyedoc inaccurate information. If you can’t tell the difference between two choices, say so.

Also, contact lenses are gross.

Your doctor isn’t a mind reader. If you don’t tell him both lines look the same, or both lines are blurry, how is he supposed to know?

I took my nine-year-old son to get his eyes checked and one thing I was very firm with him about was this: “Don’t tell the doctor what you THINK he wants to hear! Answer as honestly as you can and don’t worry, you’re not irritating him!”*

As a long-time wearer of corrective lenses, this is the advice I would offer to you as well. Any eye doc worth his salt is not going to get peeved with you over your responses. He NEEDS to know as exactly as possible what you’re seeing or not seeing. Otherwise, he can’t make an accurate diagnosis, nor write an accurate scrip for your lenses.

As for my son? He did great. Because of his age, the doc tested him to check the accuracy of his responses (by having him look through certain lenses that would cause him to see things a certain way and asking him what he saw). His answers were so dead accurate that the doc was impressed! And my boy looks so cute in his new glasses! :slight_smile:
*None of this is meant to convey any idea that you’re being childish! Just drawing on a very recent experience!

Others’ comments notwithstanding, contact lenses don’t correct the vision as well as glasses do. There are specially designed lenses called torture — oops I mean toric – lenses that are supposed to correct for astigmatism. But they are extremely uncomfortable. I stopped using contact lenses years ago.

I recently made the mistake of trying to figure out which lines are fuzziest and what resulted was lenses that looked worse than the first time around, so now I wear my original prescription through which I can see so-so and I have a much better prescription that I can never ever ever use. (Because I can’t afford a whole new set of lenses & frames.) Lesson learned: the patient is not qualified to second guess the optometrist.

Um, WHAT? Do you have some kind of cite for this, or is it your personal experience? Because it is 100% inaccurate in my case. I am severely myopic and glasses cannot compare to contacts for me. The loss of peripheral vision with glasses alone is enough to give contacts the edge. Given the choice of contacts and glasses in the exact same prescription, I will take contacts every single time.

I find the question in the OP kind of weird. Eye exams aren’t something you can “pass” or “fail”. The doctor asks you questions, you answer them. If you can’t tell the difference between lens one and lens two, tell the doctor so. If your new prescription isn’t right, tell the doctor. It’s possible the lab screwed up, also. (This has happened to me.)

You’re paying the optometrist money for a service. You wouldn’t hire an interior designer to help redo your living room and then not tell them what you thought you wanted, what you thought looked good, etc. If neither of the options give you distinctly clearer vision, say so. Don’t give up until you’re satisfied; if the doctor isn’t willing to work with you, request your records (which you have the legal right to), and find someone new.

I will say that an occasional white lie is not out of place - many optometrists function as salesmen as well. Amazingly, when I told an optometrist I only wear a given pair of contacts for exactly two weeks (the manufacturer’s recommendation) everything looked fine in my eyes. I wear them for “as long as they are comfortable”, as the ophthalmologist (who is, you know, an actual doctor) who prescribed them recommended. When I told another optometrist that, she then found evidence that it was causing bad things to happen…but don’t worry, I can prescribe you different lenses which cost considerably more, and pressure you to buy some overpriced eyedrops, and it’ll clear right up!*

The only thing that is possibly true here is that you found toric lenses uncomfortable. I’ve had my toric lenses in for roughly seventeen hours today and they feel absolutely fine. Contact lenses do in fact correct your vision much better than glasses; it’s more ‘natural’ since the correcting lens is right on your eye, rather than an inch away, and since the lens moves with your eye, your entire visual field is corrected and the distortion is minimal if existent at all.

*Seriously - I’ve been wearing the exact same type of lenses, in the exact same manner, for six years now. The ophthalmologist who prescribed them and who I saw after year one and two said everything was fine. The optometrist I saw under insurance plan 1, after three years, said everything was fine. The next optometrist I saw under insurance plan 2, after five years, said everything was fine. The optometrist at Lenscrafters I paid out-of-pocket for? The one who takes walk-in appointments and no doubt is used to people blindly believing what she says under the mistaken belief that she’s a physician? The one who spent five minutes trying to convince me that it will absolutely be cheaper to order new lenses through her? Shockingly she thought I had to switch to new lenses, and refused to write a prescription for the lenses I’ve been wearing without problem for six years, insisting the new types of lenses will only cost “a little bit more”. Uh-huh. How about we talk after you get an actual medical degree and an office that’s not in a shopping mall?

If you can’t tell the difference between option one and option two the first time round, say so and ask for a repetition. If you really can’t see any difference, say so. That is an acceptable answer. You’re not trying to pass a test with the correct answers, you’re trying to honestly describe what you see, and that can take a while.

Did you ever notice that he is changing the angle of a lens and then flipping it? When you get to the “is one better than two” that is most likely when the optometrist is trying to dial in your astigmatism. Not seeing any difference is important information. The doctor is then going to try something that DOES show a difference.

get it.

For the record:

  1. The title of the OP is a joke.

  2. My sarcasm doesn’t take well in real life either.

  3. I was given toric lenses and they fit really well. At times I worry that they might have fallen out somehow, because it feels like I have nothing on my eyes.

Lakai, you are screwing yourself. You can absolutely get perfect vision with corrective lenses. I have astigmatism, worse in the left than the right, and myopia. With corrective lenses, I can see with 20/15 acuity. I’m very sensitive to changes in my vision, and when I can’t read the route numbers on a bus coming from at least 3 blocks away, that’s when I know I need a prescription change. It used to be yearly, now more like 2-3 years.

When the doctor is asking you to compare 1 and 2, then 3 and 4, etc, he’s checking the bend in the lens that’s necessary to correct your myopia and astigmatism. IME, the goal is to get to where there is no difference. Sometimes you need to slow down, it’s not a timed race! I often need a couple of seconds to blink and refocus - just say so. I usually sow it down with a prolonged “ummm”, or I’ll just say “I need to focus/blink a few times” and the doctor will wait. We go through at least 10 comparisons, and once I get to “I can’t tell”, then we’re done.

The ability to correct your vision 100% is also a good indication of eye health. Healthy eyes may be myopic, but can be corrected. If vision cannot be corrected 100%, that’s an indication there may be something else going on, and you again aren’t doing yourself any favors by pretending to see OK when you’re not.

That depends on a lot of things. I have severe astigmatism. I also see much better in contacts than in glasses. I also also wear rigid gas-permeable contact lenses. I ask the eye doc about soft lenses every year, and every year he tells me I wouldn’t see as well (I keep hoping the technology will get better, oh well). So I stick with the rigid lenses, see great, and use them almost exclusively. Glasses really only come out if the cats have knocked something over after I’ve gone to bed.

I’ve worn the contacts for like 20 years now, so I’m well used to them and they’re perfectly comfortable. Only trouble I have is sometimes getting dust or an eyelash underneath them; but I understand that hurts with soft lenses too.

Yeah, ever notice that your glasses prescription is stronger? I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that contacts are closer to your eye and therefore provide a more “natural” refractive ability and thus better acuity.

FOR ASTIGMATICS not myopics.

Torics suck ass. Mine kept sliding around on my eyes as I blinked no matter how they sized the damned lenses so I told them to suck it up and went back to glasses.

You know, I really really REALLY miss the glass lenses I used to wear in the 70s. I never had any issues with them. I could see just fine. These softlenses suck ass for astigmatics if the astigmatism is extreme.

Also don’t be embarrassed to say “Go back to #1 again” if you aren’t sure.

How old are you, and are you nearsighted? Difficulty with near-work with contact lenses as opposed to glasses is a fairly common complaint for those nearsighted people who are just beginning to become presbyopic (i.e. aging eyes). By all means, ask your eye doctor about this, as s/he may have suggestions.

I’m a third-year optometry student. I’m happy to answer any questions. Actually, despite what Ninjachick, who clearly has a strong opinion on this subject :stuck_out_tongue: thinks, optometrists are doctors – just not MDs, same as dentists and podiatrists. To get to this point, I had to take the same college pre-reqs as the other health professional students (i.e. orgo, bio, chem, physics etc.) and am now attending optometry school, which is a 4 year post-college program. So, a doctoral degree, in other words. Just wanted to clear that up. And for what it’s worth, please don’t lie to your eye doc. You may not like what they say (and you’re under no obligation to listen to medical/optometric advice) but it’s better for everyone if at least they can give you that advice knowing somewhat accurate information.

I have some astigmatism, too. I guess it’s not that severe, though, because I wear regular gas perm lenses.

Actually, rigid gas perms, if that is what you mean, are great (optically anyway… comfort-wise it really depends on the patient) for astigmats. The hard spherical surface corrects any astigmatism caused by corneal curvature (which is generally most of it, although again it depends on the patient.)

Cromulent, I’m 24.