What Should You Not Do Before an Eye Exam?

Dos and Donts before an eye exam

It’s important to schedule annual eye exams to maintain optimal eye health. Eye exams can ensure that you are wearing the correct prescription and help identify eye injuries or diseases. Depending on your personal health and vision history, your eye care provider may recommend comprehensive exams every 1-2 years and many patients want to know how to prepare.

Here are some things to consider if you have an upcoming vision checkup:

Do avoid excessive strain on your eyes

Many of us use screens at work or school, so it’s suggested that you schedule your eye appointment before heavy screen usage in your day. The digital eye strain from viewing computer monitors can cause eye fatigue and make eye testing exercises less accurate. At Medical Eye Center, we also recommend getting at least 8 hours of sleep the night before your appointment. Well-rested eyes will make your experience more comfortable and provide your eye doctor with accurate assessments.

Don’t forget your current prescription glasses or contact lenses

Your eye care provider must get an accurate picture of your vision. Bringing your current prescription is essential and can help compare differences in the strength of your lenses. During some appointments, it may be necessary to dilate your eyes so the eye care provider can view the eye’s internal structures. Because of this, you’ll need sunglasses to protect your eyes after dilation. If you forget your sunglasses, we are happy to provide you with temporary darkened inserts or temple sunglasses. Dilation can take several hours to wear off, so it is important not to drive unless you feel safe doing so. It’s very common for prescriptions to change over time, especially as we age, so don’t be alarmed if you leave your appointment with different numbers or measurements.

Do skip excessive caffeine

Many providers recommend avoiding caffeine before your appointment because it can raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause your exam results to be inaccurate because they can cause symptoms like blurry vision or headaches. If you have been diagnosed with Hypertension (high blood pressure), be sure to tell your eye care provider. This condition can create vision-related problems and if left untreated, can even cause damage to the retina or macula.

Don’t stay silent

Speaking up applies both before and during your exam. Asking questions is a great way to bring concerns up to your eye care provider and help you feel confident and calm about the process. Some questions you might ask during your comprehensive exam include:

  • What are my options for improving my eyesight?
  • Should I be watching for any signs and symptoms or vision changes?
  • Should I make any changes to how I care for my eyes?
  • When should I schedule my next eye appointment?
  • Are there any changes to my prescription that I should be aware of?

Do give your eye care provider a complete profile.

It’s important to provide clear, honest answers about any of your current or past healthcare. Your family history, history of any past eye surgeries or procedures, and any medications you are on are all extremely helpful and can impact suggestions that your eye care provider may make. If you are on any medications (including supplements), you should write down the dosages or bring them to your appointment. This includes eye drops or vitamins. Your family history is important because many eye conditions have a genetic link. Some of the things you should bring up are family histories of cataracts, glaucoma, color blindness, or macular degeneration.

Do remember to ask about the next steps

If you need to make a follow-up appointment, scheduling it before you leave is an excellent way to be accountable for returning. Ask for written instructions if you were given new medication or instructions, or verify that you could reference them online if you need to. Often, questions arise after leaving, so you will want to ask who you can reach out to later with questions or concerns.

Trust is crucial when it comes to your eye care. That’s why you want to seek out an eye care provider who listens to you, and who has a reputation for quality. At Medical Eye Center, we have a long-standing history that spans 100 years. With a state of the art facility built in 2009, we have expanded our ability to serve even more patients in our region. We would love to welcome you into our practice and get you scheduled for your annual eye exam. Give us a call today at 541-779-4711.


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