Types of Exams

Several types of diagnostic examinations are performed in the VTR Service. The following descriptions will allow for a better understanding about the type of recommended exam.

Sensorimotor Exam

Basic Vision Skills

This group of tests will help the doctors in the VTR service determine how clearly patients are seeing, how well their eyes focus, how well their eye muscles work together and the quality of depth perception. This type of exam is recommended when experiencing eye discomfort, reading and/or learning problems that may be linked to vision. Many people are surprised to learn that problems with vision can affect so many daily activities. This can be particularly troublesome for children in school, adults whose job requires a significant amount of near work, athletes whose good performance depends upon the quality of their vision and those who have experienced a brain injury.

Visual Perceptual/Developmental Exam

How Eyes Work to Understand What They See

This group of tests is designed to provide detailed information about the way the eyes are developing or have developed and how visual information is gathered and processed. Doctors in the VTR service check the ability to understand, store and manipulate material presented through the visual system alone and in conjunction with other senses (i.e. speech, hearing, touch). Doctors also measure the recognition of symbols and letters and the patient’s ability to draw, write and manipulate printed material. This type of exam is typically recommended when a child or teen is not doing well in school or an adult is experiencing vision difficulty following a problem like a stroke or other accident. At least 80% of all that is learned or experienced comes through our visual system, so problems with perception can be extremely disabling.

Strabismus and Amblyopia Exam

Understanding Eyes that Fail to Work Together

This exam is designed to specifically address the needs of patients with eye turns and “lazy eye.” This group of tests, like the sensorimotor exam (basic vision skills), checks how clearly patients are seeing, how well their eyes focus, how well their eye muscles work together and the quality of depth perception. In addition, this exam also helps the doctor detect the reason for eye turns and vision loss. Amblyopia, or “lazy eye” as it is often called, is one of the leading causes of preventable vision loss in the U.S. Strabismus, or “eye turn,” is found both in children and in those who have experienced a brain injury. Detection and aggressive treatment can restore vision and eye alignment and positively affect daily activities.

Low Vision Exam

Maximizing the Remaining Vision

When other medical or surgical treatment cannot provide any further improvement or when medical or surgical treatment must be delayed, a low vision examination is recommended. The low vision examination is an in depth evaluation of the person’s functional use of the remaining vision. The purpose of this evaluation is to prescribe optical and non-optical aids to maximize use of the patient’s residual vision. Optical aids vary in type from magnifiers and telescopes for seeing at distance and near, to closed circuit televisions that can magnify print up to 100 times, enabling the person to read again. Non-optical aids include items such as talking watches, books on tape, colored filters to reduce glare and other devices aimed at improving activities of daily living. Coupled with the wide variety in types of optical and non-optical aids and extent of vision impairments, it is necessary to perform a special low vision examination to analyze what the best residual vision is and what specific type of aids will best help the person meet their visual needs.