What do they do in a normal eye exam?

Dilated exam. A typical new patient examination has three parts: refraction to determine whether you need glasses, checking the health of the front of the eye (from the cornea to the natural lens), and dilation. Although most people dislike the effects of dilation, it is necessary to allow the doctor a view of the structures in the back of the eye. Pressure is tested and the nerve is checked for glaucoma.