Orange County, California
800-974-EYES (3937)

Eye Exams

orange county eye exam

An eye examination includes a review of your medical history, an analysis of your visual acuity, which may or may not include a prescription for glasses, an examination of the eye's physical well-being, content and surrounding tissue, and an evaluation of the eye's connection with the visual system inside your brain.

Who needs an eye examination?


A pediatric eye examination looks in particular for abnormalities of visual development in children (amblyopia), irregularities in eye alignment (crossed eyes or squint), refractions that indicate the need for eyeglasses, and conditions that may indicate damaged or unusual eye findings.


An adult examination may require eyeglass measurement (refraction) for optimal visual acuity, screening for glaucoma, analysis of eye structures and surrounding tissues, and recommendations for treatment as necessary. Adult examinations look for diseases which can be treated or prevented so that sight can be restored or protected from further or future loss of vision.

How often should I have my eyes checked?

Children who are referred to our office will be advised how often, if ever, they need to return to our office. If our examination finds nothing but a healthy eye, we will refer you or your child back to the optometrist, pediatrician, or other health care service provider who referred you to us and we will tell you how soon that return visit should be made.

Adults with normal findings on initial examination should have their eyes checked every two to four years, depending on age. Below is a general chart:

Age Caucasian African-American
20-39 Every 3 - 5 years Every 2 - 4 years
40-64 Every 2 - 4 years Every 2 - 4 years
65 or older Every 1 - 2 years Every 1 - 2 years

Adults or children who are being treated for specific eye conditions will need to return for follow up more frequently and we will provide you with a specific time interval when you should return. We will schedule this appointment for you if you wish, or can provide you with a reminder card that will be mailed to you prior to when you should be seen again.

How is an eye examination performed?

Harvard Eye Associates uses the most modern testing equipment that allows us to carefully screen for refraction. Before an eyeglass prescription is written, this screening information is retested by one of the doctors to make sure it is correct. Glaucoma testing includes a measurement of eye pressure. Ocular alignment is evaluated for cross eyed or other eyestrain caused by strabismus (eyes are not aligned and there is a stress in the ability of the two eyes to view the same target). A careful analysis of the external structures around the eyes is performed, including the eyelid, lashes, tear drainage and eye moisture. A careful analysis of the internal structures of the eye includes the cornea, iris, pupil, lens, vitreous, retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels.

As necessary, further testing is performed, which may include measurement of actual tear production, cell thickness and condition of the cornea, an analysis of risk of glaucoma (gonioscopy), a detailed evaluation of peripheral vision or visual field, a quantitative and qualitative measurements of the optic disc and retina, and wavefront analysis of internal and external ocular tissue.

Is a refraction (measurement for eyeglass prescription) a part of every examination?

Our job is to evaluate and care for people's eyes. As part of this, we must know how well you see. To accomplish this, we must do enough of a refraction to score a person's visual acuity. Knowing how well a person sees and obtaining a basic knowledge of a person's general refraction is done on nearly every patient who comes to our office except in emergency, or a few other situations when we may not be initially able to obtain this information.

What will happen to my eyes during my examination?

Most adult patients will be given eye drops that allow us to check for glaucoma. These anesthetic eye drops sting a little for a few moments and then quickly wear off.

Many adult and pediatric patients will be given "dilating drops" that open the pupils widely so that we can evaluate the back of the eye and so that we can measure the eyeglass refraction most precisely. These dilating drops may cause some loss of near vision/reading vision for a few hours. Dilating drops may also cause significant difficulty in bright sunlight. We strongly recommend that you arrange to have someone drive you after the conclusion of your exam, as you will likely have difficulty reading and sensitivity to sunlight for three-five hours afterward. We provide disposable sunglasses under these conditions, however it may still be difficult to drive. If this temporary incapacity may cause you undue difficulty, we can avoid dilation of your eyes, but your exam won't be as complete.

Why do you have to do all of this?

In order to take care of you to the best of our ability, and in order to be as thorough as possible in examining you, all of the tests and eye drops are necessary. Should you have any question about this, please ask one of our fine eye technicians or one of the doctors. Your sight is precious; we want to do the best job possible taking care of you.

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Harvard Eye Associates
Laguna Hills Office

Map and Directions
24401 Calle de la Louisa
Suites 300-312
Laguna Hills, California 92653

FAX: 949-356-1660
Harvard Eye Associates
San Clemente Office

Map and Directions
665 Camino de los Mares
Suites 102-103
San Clemente, California 92673

FAX: 949-356-1660

The eye doctors of Harvard Eye Associates perform advanced technology diagnostic testing and treatment, as well as taking the time necessary to provide each patient with information needed to fully understand his or her condition and to achieve the best possible visual outcome.

If you or a family member or friend have not had a recent routine eye examination, have a specific eye condition that needs addressing, or are looking for an eye specialist, second opinion, or professional eye consultant please take a moment to Request an Appointment.

In The News

When exciting improvements in a current technique or product are introduced to the ophthalmic world, Harvard Eye Associates is often involved in the related clinical studies.

As a trusted, advanced clinical research study center, Harvard Eye Assoicates makes it possible to offer qualifying patients access to advancements in eye care not yet available to the general public.

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Ask The Eye Doctor

If you have questions about your eyes, Harvard Eye Associates is here with the information you need.

We've dedicated sections of our website expressly to list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers, covering cataract surgery, glaucoma, retina, LASIK, macular degeneration, dry eyes and more, plus an online form where you may submit questions directly to an eye doctor.

Please click below to have your questions about vision answered.

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Why Choose Us

Internationally regarded as the go-to specialist in eye care, Harvard Eye offers a combined experience of over 100 years and over 100,000 surgical procedures. The doctors of Harvard Eye Associates have treated virtually every known eye condition there is, plus a few previously unknown.

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Before Your Visit

Whether you or a loved one are having a first eye exam, a repeat eye exam, or are seeing a new eye doctor at Harvard Eye for the first time, there are a number of routine questions you can expect.

Your answers to these questions during eye exams are anything but routine for your eye doctor, so you may want to arrive prepared.

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Meet Our Patients

Read testimonials and watch videos of actual Harvard Eye Associates patients who have benefited from our professionalism, dedication, and commitment to high quality patient care.

Our offices provide patients with all eye care needs from routine eye exams to complex surgical procedures.

We are both proud and grateful that our patients have chosen to trust their vision with Harvard Eye!

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How We Give Back

Volunteer work is extremely important to Harvard Eye Associates. Twice yearly, we travel the world to teach and perform surgery to people who have no other resources, and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to providing medical training and supplies to developing countries.

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