What to Expect

We get a lot of questions about our eye exam processes, what instruments we use, what we’re checking for, etc. So this will give a brief overview of what to expect when you come into our office for a comprehensive eye examination.

Due to CDC guidelines, please remember to bring a mask with you to wear the entire time you are in the office for your appointment.

At checkin, you will be asked for insurance information, your driver’s license, and any other demographic information needed to complete your chart.

From there, one of the doctors will call you back from the waiting room to get your exam started.

Currently, at Chapel Hill Eyecare, the doctors work up each patient start to finish. We like this approach because it gives more time with each patient and is more personal.

The doctor will take a detailed health history, for you and your immediate family, during the exam and ask you about any medications you are currently taking as well as any known medication allergies. Feel free to bring a list of your medications if you prefer.

For Comprehensive Eye Exams, our office offers a choice of either dilation or Optos Retinal Photos to examine the inside health of the eyes. Optos photos are $39 and generally not covered by insurance.

During the exam, you will have Optos photos taken of your retina and a separate auto-refractor instrument will give the doctor an estimate of your glasses prescription.

We do NOT use the puff of air machine to check internal eye pressure. Not because it’s not reliable or accurate, but we feel there are easier ways to check pressure that don’t cause patients to have more anxiety about getting their eyes examined.

Your glasses and/or contact lens prescription will be fine tuned in the exam room while reading the chart and choosing which options look better to you as the patient. Most patients remember this part as, “which is better, 1 or 2?”

Please note, if you have any specific visual requirements or work environment distances whereby you need to optimize you vision, please bring those measurements with you to your exam.

After checking your prescription, the doctor will assess the health of the external parts of your eyes using a slit lamp microscope. The doctor will also check your intraocular eye pressure using a handheld tonometer. Again, we do NOT use the puff of air machine to check eye pressure.

One of the last, but most important parts of a comprehensive eye examination is checking the internal health of the eyes. We offer two ways to examine the health of the inside of the eyes. The traditional method is by dilation, whereby the doctor puts drops in your eyes that will blur your near vision and make you light sensitive for about 3 to 4 hours. The alternative to dilation is the Optomap retinal photograph mentioned earlier.

You and your doctor will discuss which option best fits your needs as well as allows the doctor to completely assess the internal health of the eyes.

During the ocular health examination, the doctors are checking for any and all ocular diseases including but not limited to: glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts.

The health examination also allows us to check for certain systemic diseases like diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and elevated cholesterol levels as well as many others.

At the completion of the exam, you will have a finalized glasses prescription and contact lens prescription if applicable. Keep in mind, you may be requested to try diagnostic or trial contacts for 1-2 weeks before your contact lens prescription is finalized.

As always, we would be happy to assist you with your glasses or contact lens purchases. We have a wide selection of frames and utilize the best glasses lens technology available. We also have a wide range of pricing available for glasses to fit almost any budget.

I hope this helps to give you a brief overview of your upcoming exam. Please feel free to let us know if you have any other questions or concerns prior to your exam.

Check out our FAQ’s page for other commonly asked questions as well!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

– Dr. Scott Sikes