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Common tests

An overview of the some of the tests you are likely to encounter

When attending your appointments, it is likely you will encounter a number of tests that are intended to help your doctor detect and identify any problems with your eyes.

Visual acuity test

Visual acuity tests are used to determine the smallest letters you can read on a standardized chart or card held 20 feet (6 meters) away. Ophthalmologists routinely use a number of different standardized charts in their practices.


Dilated eye exam

Dilation involves putting drops into your eyes that dilate the pupils. This test uses a bright light and a magnifying lens to assess your retina and optic nerve for any problems. Using different lenses allows different parts of the eye to be seen in more detail.

Eye Specialist

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

Optical Coherence Tomography, or OCT, might sound complicated, but it’s really just a light that scans your retina. The scan produces a visualization of the different layers of the retina, producing a sort of map that lets the doctor or nurse measure its thickness and view retinal details. This is important for understanding exactly what’s happening around your macula.


Fundus fluoroscein angiography (FFA)

Fluorescein angiography is a procedure where a dye is injected into your bloodstream. It highlights the blood vessels at the back of your eye, which helps your doctor or nurse assess how leaky they are, and whether they have become restricted in any way.

Eye Specialist

Key patient resources

Understand where you are and what you need to do

Use our checklists to prepare for appointments

See what most DME patients want to know about

An easy-to-understand guide to the medical terms