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Eye Exam in Bel Air

The comprehensive eye exam offers regular, preventive care and is critical for preserving clear, healthy vision throughout your life. Comprehensive eye exams are important not only for checking and enhancing vision, they are vital in the early detection of eye disease and/or abnormalities. In addition to assessing nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and other refractive abnormalities, we check for sight-threatening problems such as glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Our optometrists use technologically advanced equipment to make your exam as comfortable and easy as possible. Our providers take time to explain exam findings with each patient so that they leave feeling confident about their eye health and treatment plans. 

Our team of ophthalmologists and optometrists at Advanced Eye Care & Aesthetics offer a variety of tests and procedures for a thorough examination of your eyes as part of our comprehensive vision care. We run a series of specialized tests to evaluate you for the following conditions:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Retinal Issues
  • Dry Eye
  • Corneal Conditions
  • Refractive Errors/Vision Correction
  • Others

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Exam Duration

A comprehensive eye exam can take an hour or more, depending on the doctor and the number and complexity of tests required to fully evaluate your vision and the health of your eyes. Pupil dilation during an eye exam is very important at revealing the status of your optic nerve and retina, and it critical to preventing and treating eye conditions that could potentially lead to vision loss.

Types of Exams

Caring for your eyesight begins with a complete eye exam.  It is the only place in the human body where a doctor can see a part of the central nervous system, the optic nerve. The observation of that nerve is a crucial part of a comprehensive eye examination.  Optometrist and Ophthalmologist use a wide variety of tests and procedures to examine your eyes. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to visualize the tiny structures inside of your eyes.

Both the dilated and the undilated eye exams provide important information to an eye doctor. Let’s explore the undilated exam first.

The Undilated Eye Exam

One of the first parts of a comprehensive eye exam is a test of your vision, and perhaps a measurement to determine an eyeglass prescription, both of which require that your eyes remain undilated.

In addition, eye doctors will examine your pupil’s response to light prior to dilation. This can be important for determining whether the visual pathways for each eye are functioning properly.

There is also an examination, called gonioscopy, which allows the doctor to examine your eye’s drainage angle with a special mirrored lens. The “angle” that is being referred to is the angle between the iris, which makes up the colored part of your eye, and the cornea, which is the clear window front part of your eye. When the angle is open, your ophthalmologist can see most, if not all, of your eye’s drainage system. When the angle is narrow, only portions of the drainage angle are visible, and in acute angle-closure glaucoma, none of it is visible.
Part of a glaucoma examination is formal visual field testing, where your peripheral, or side vision, is tested. Ideally, your eyes are not dilated during this test.

Finally, there are other parts of the front of the eye, the iris for example, which should be examined when your eyes are not dilated.

The Dilated Eye Exam

The view to the back of the eye is limited when the pupil is not dilated. When your pupil is small, an ophthalmologist can see your optic nerve and macula but the view is limited. In order to see the entire retina, the pupil must be dilated. This is achieved through the use of eye drops. They typically take about 15-30 minutes to fully dilate the pupils, depending the person’s response to the medication, and typically take 4-6 hours to wear off.


Refraction is the actual determination of your eyeglass prescription. Using a phoropter and retinoscope, we can accurately measure your degree of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and determine any degree of astigmatism. Refraction is an important part of any comprehensive eye examination as it can be an early indication of a variety of eye diseases, such as diabetes, cataract, dry eye or keratoconus.

Refraction Fee Notice

There are two parts to your eye examination, which are billed separately.

  • The first charge includes the fee for the doctor to evaluate the health of your eyes. This charge is billable to your insurance company, and also to Medicare.
  • The second (vision) portion of your exam is called a “refraction,” which is a test performed to determine the best corrective lenses to be prescribed for each eye.

Although a refraction is a very important vision test, it is considered a non-medical procedure. Medicare and most insurance plans do not pay for this service, the fee of which is now $50.00, effective March 1, 2023.

We request that payment for this service be made at the time of your visit. Thank you.

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