We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What are the Most Common Types of Vision Tests?

Mary McMahon
Updated: May 17, 2024

Common vision tests include color vision tests, refraction tests, visual acuity tests, and visual field tests. All of these tests can be administered during a routine eye exam and some are performed during a regular physical to check for vision changes in a patient, determining if a referral to a vision specialist is necessary. These tests are repeated on a regular basis with the goal of identifying vision problems early so they can be treated before complications develop.

In color vision tests, patients are presented with materials intended to test their color vision. This may be done for a number of reasons, ranging from concerns about inheriting vision defects to worries about changes to the optic nerve that might interfere with color vision. A common example is a set of cards covered in dots of various colors. Numbers and letters are embedded in the dots and will be visible or invisible, depending on someone's color vision capability.

Refraction tests require dilation of the eyes, using eyedrops. The doctor will look into the eyes with a bright light to see how light behaves within the eye and the patient will also be asked to look through a series of lenses to determine if vision correction is needed and see what level of correction is required. After this test, the patient will need to wear protective glasses before going outside, as there is a risk of eye damage caused by bright light when the pupils are dilated.

Visual acuity tests involve seeing how well people can distinguish objects like letters or numbers at various distances. The classic form is the eye chart on the wall, where people are asked to read down the chart and note is taken of the last legible letters for the patient. People who cannot read can be given visual acuity tests involving the identification of shapes and objects on a chart or card, allowing doctors to diagnose vision problems in young children. Other vision tests for acuity include options like the Amsler grid used to check for macular degeneration.

In visual field tests, the goal is to see how much peripheral vision is available to the patient. Doctors can perform this test simply by standing in front of the patient and moving a target like a finger from left to right. The patient reports when the finger is no longer visible and the doctor can take note of the point at which it moved out of the patient's visual field. Changes in peripheral vision identified during vision tests can be a sign of damage to the eyes or surrounding structures.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.