Vision loss can be devastating, especially when the symptoms are sudden and unexpected. Most vision related problems can be prevented and treated successfully if they are detected before permanent damage occurs. The only way to detect problems early is through routine eye examination.
There are multitudes of ways eye doctors can examine and test your eyes. Here’s a quick list on just a few of the different tests you will experience at Commonwealth Eye Center.

Visual Acuity Test

One of the most recognizable tests, doctors utilize a vision chart to determine your visual ability. This is to determine the sharpness of your vision at a distance. These tests give the doctor a basic understanding of our visual clarity, but do not go into depth or the specifics of an eye disease you may have. Visual acuity determines how well light is being focused onto the retina, how sensitive the nerves in the retina and macula are, and how well the brain is interpreting the information it is receiving.


A refraction is the test done to determine your eyeglass or contact prescription. This is the “better one or two?” test that takes between 10 – 15 minutes and also determines the degree of astigmatism that will also affect your vision. A comparison with your current eyeglasses will be done so please bring those with you even if you do not wear them all the time. The measurements for a contact lens prescription is different than for eye glasses so you can chose to do just one or both prescriptions during your appointment.

Color Blindness Tests

During these tests, you will be shown several images of a circle comprised by many dots, all varying in size and brightness. The dots are uniform in color, except a pattern in the center that forms a number, which is of a contrasting color. If you cannot determine what the number is, or if you cannot see a difference in color at all, you may have a certain degree of color blindness. A more detailed test consists of a tray with several disks of colors. You are instructed to arrange the colors to create a gradual changing hue. The colors have numbers inscribed on the back, allowing your doctor to determine how closely you managed to get the colors into the correct order. The closer the patient gets the order, the better color perception you have.

Cover Test

Another common and recognizable test, doctors will cover one of your eyes at a time and instruct you to look at objects of varying distances. The doctor will then switch eyes and repeat the test. This test is used to determine how well the eyes work together, and can detect amblyopia, or “lazy eye”.

Depth Perception Test

During this test, you will wear “3D” glasses and be instructed to read a booklet with a series of shapes. You will try to determine which of the shapes appear to be “closer”. The closer you are to being correct, the better depth perception you have.


In order to determine which prescription lenses to use, should you require eyeglasses of contact lenses, your doctor will examine your retina by shining a light into his or her eye while the patient focuses on an object. At the same time, your doctor will put a series of lenses in front of your eyes, and estimate what prescription to use based on how the light reflects from your eye.
It is strongly recommended by medical professionals to have an eye examination at least every two years. This may be increased depending on the your age, genetic history, medical history, or other factors.
Contact Commonwealth Eye Center as soon as possible to set up your appointment!