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5 Things Not to Do Before an Eye Exam

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Young happy woman undergoing eye exam by her optometrist.

Eye exams are part of a healthy routine each year. For many people, a comprehensive eye exam is a standard annual procedure that helps prevent the progression of eye diseases. Eye exams also allow optometrists to help you see better with accurate prescriptions.

Preparing yourself for an eye exam is a relatively practical process. Let’s discuss some of the things you shouldn’t do right before a visit to the eye doctor. These guidelines will help you get the most out of an eye exam once you schedule your next appointment.

What Not to Do Before an Eye Exam

Unlike some medical exams, it’s okay to eat and drink most things before your upcoming eye appointment. If you are someone with special conditions or ongoing medical issues, your optometrist may request some extra restrictions prior to your exam. 

And remember, you can always call ahead the day before or morning of an exam for more information from our team. Here are some things not to do ahead of your visit with an eye doctor.

Don’t Overexert Your Eyes

Keeping your eyes rested leading up to an eye exam is likely to increase your overall comfort. When your ocular system is relaxed and rested there is usually less fatigue following the testing exercises. Aim for a full 8 hours of sleep the night before your eye appointment.

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, can affect anyone who spends a lot of time staring at screens on their cell phone or computers. This strain can lead to eye fatigue. We recommend minimizing time spent looking at screens before an eye exam. Morning appointments are a great idea for patients who use digital screens for work or school.

Glasses and contact lens box on white towel.

Don’t Forget Your Glasses & Contacts

Make sure to bring your current eyeglasses and contact lenses. We want to test the strength and performance of your current corrective eyewear against any changes that may have occurred in your prescription. Human eyes can change significantly as we age, so don’t be surprised if your glasses need replacing.

Don’t forget to bring sunglasses either. By using special eye drops, the optometrist will dilate your pupils during a comprehensive eye exam. The primary side effect is light sensitivity for 4 – 6 hours. Remembering to bring a pair of sunglasses will help manage bright lights for the rest of the day.

Don’t Drink Coffee or Alcohol

We know that a cup of Joe gives you a burst to start your day, but the caffeine in coffee can raise blood pressure. Because annual eye exams can identify high blood pressure, you don’t want inaccurate measurements due to too much caffeine in your system. Switch to decaf or herbal tea for the morning.

Alcohol is another substance that can increase blood pressure. Alcohol consumption may also make your eyes feel dry or irritated, especially during eye tests. So try to avoid heavy drinking the night before an eye exam and refrain from alcoholic drinks the day of. 

Don’t Forget Your Insurance Documents

Having current copies of your vision or medical insurance documents will always make your eye exam a little smoother. Even if we have your information on file, your most updated copies are an important item to bring along. Make sure you have a government-issued ID with you as well. 

Digital copies can be accepted in some instances. You may also have your insurance provider fax relevant documents to our office. Please call ahead to see if your insurance plan is currently accepted at our practice.

Don’t Feel Nervous or Intimidated

Modern testing technology has turned comprehensive eye exams into quite a pleasant experience. Retinal scans and corneal imaging is all done with digital cameras that are virtually non-invasive. The most irritating part of an eye exam is usually some light sensitivity after pupil dilation.

If there are no unexpected complications, the entire eye exam process should take about 1 hour. It is very rare for patients to feel pain or any serious discomfort during an eye exam. And know that you have an entire team of eye care experts to help from the moment you enter our office until you are ready to leave. 

Simple Steps for Eye Exam Success

Preparing for an eye exam is more about what you can do. By getting a good night’s sleep and avoiding too much time on digital screens, you are helping prepare your eyes for a happy exam experience. Try to hold off on a morning cup of coffee (or two) before your scheduled eye appointment.

Remember to bring your insurance documents, current eyewear, and a pair of sunglasses. And most of all, don’t feel intimidated! Our entire team is going to make your exam as enjoyable as possible from start to finish. If you help us out with a few considerations, your next eye exam should be smooth, seamless, and successful. 

Written by DR. JIM PIETRANTONIO

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