Why have an eye examination?
An eye examination or sight test is not just about getting glasses but rather a vital health check for your eyes and can detect problems with your general health as well, such as high blood pressure. Various eye conditions if detected early can be prevented from developing further and causing serious sight loss or blindness.
What is involved in an eye examination?
Eye examinations usually last for about half an hour. Prior to the eye examination, a vision screening is performed to give the Optometrist (the person who tests/examines your eyes) a baseline about your vision and eye health. This can include:
- Autorefractor: this is an instrument which gives the Optometrist an indication of your optical prescription. It involves you placing your chin on a rest and looking at a target, usually a balloon, which moves in and out of focus while it measures your vision.
- Tonometer: This is an instrument which measures the pressure in your eyes and can detect conditions such as Glaucoma. You will be asked to look into the instrument and a small puff of air will be presented to your eye giving a reading of the pressure.
- Visual Field Testing: This instrument checks your peripheral vision for any missing areas which could indicate a problem with your eyes. You will be asked to look at a screen on which you will be asked to say when you see tiny lights flash up in front of you.
- Digital Retinal Photography: This is one of the most up to date eye examination devices available and allows us to take a full colour digital photo of the back of the eye. Having your eyes examined with the Digital Retinal Camera helps us to detect abnormalities earlier. The image is stored on computer enabling us to compare photographs from visit to visit, making it far easier to detect changes. This technology is not available at many High St opticians and those who do offer it often charge extra. Yates & Suddell have provided this service COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE for several years as part of our ongoing commitment to providing the best eye examination possible.
The results from these tests will be explained to you by the Optometrist during the eye examination. The optometrist will initially ask you some questions such as:
- When was your last test?
- Do you feel there are any problems with your vision / eyes?
- Do you currently wear glasses and if so what do you use them for?
- How is your general health?
- Are you taking any medication?
- Are there any family health or eye conditions?
The examination will entail a number of tests being performed to give your final optical prescription and if glasses are required, or not, and to see if your eyes are healthy. Some of the tests that may be used include:
- Retinoscopy. This is usually one of the first tests performed. It gives an indication of your optical prescription and is performed by the Optometrist shining a light into your eyes while they change lenses in front of them.
- Cover test. This is where you look at a distant letter (or near) or spot and the optometrist alternatively covers your eyes to check for any eye turns (squints).
- Motility tests. This is where the Optometrist will ask you to follow a light to check that the muscles controlling your eye movements are working correctly.
- Refraction "the Sight test". This is where you will be asked to read letters on a distant chart and asked which of two lenses makes the letters clearer. This “fine-tunes” the result from the Autorefractor or retinoscopy to determine your final prescription. The optometrist will also assess your ability to read small print and see if any corrective glasses are required.
- Checking the health of your eyes. The Optometrist will use either and Ophthalmoscope or Slit-lamp microscope to have a close look at the outer and internal structures of your eyes. From this examination the Optometrist can detect if your eyes are healthy or if your have any eye condition’s such as Cataracts, Macular degeneration, Diabetic eye disease and Glaucoma.
Occasionally, if you have small pupils or the Optometrist needs to check something specific in your eyes they will use dilating drops to make your pupils bigger to allow a thorough examination. These drops do make your vision blurry for a few hours and it is advisable to wear sunglasses and not to drive until the effects have worn off.
Other tests which may be performed are:
- Amsler test – A test of the health of your macula and detects early changes due to macula degeneration
- Colour Vision testing – this as its name suggests looks to see if you have a colour vision problem which could be mild or more severe and may limit certain occupations or hobbies that can be undertaken.
- Stereo tests – These tests check how the eyes work as a pair and assess your depth perception.
- Dry eye tests – look at how your tears function and assess if any dry eye drops or punctum plugs are required.
- OCT Optical Coherence Tomography - The Next Generation Eye Exam