Why should I have a regular eye examination?
Regular examinations are important for several reasons:
- An eye examination will reveal whether your vision is normal, or whether it could be improved further with spectacles or contact lenses;
- For children, poor eyesight can significantly affect their performance at school;
- For drivers, poor eyesight can be dangerous, not only for themselves, but also for pedestrians and other road users;
- The eye examination is an important health check which can, in some cases, detect serious underlying problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, raised intra-cranial pressure and brain tumours;
- Part of the problems with many eye conditions, such as early glaucoma, is that they do not have any symptoms so the eyes do not always hurt if there is something wrong;
- If there is a problem the earlier it is discovered the better the chance of treatment being a success. This is of particular importance in children and elderly patients.
To aid this we have developed our Eye Care 21 scheme, which provides the most comprehensive regular eye examination for our patients. For more information, please see our Eye Care 21 page.
Your Eye Examination
On average, a routine eye examination usually takes 25-35 minutes and will be performed by one of our fully qualified optometrists. In the case of some patients, the examination will take longer if additional special tests are required. The examination will usually include several parts These elements are explained individually in the table below.
History and Symptoms
This usually starts with a discussion about the reasons for your visit; is it just a routine check to ensure that the eyes remain healthy, or are there specific problems that you are having with your vision, or concerns you have about your eyes? If you are having problems the optometrist will need to know the kind of problem, its duration and whether it is associated with any particular tasks. We will ask about your general health, as this may be relevant to the examination, as will any medication you are taking, also whether you suffer from headaches. Other relevant information is helpful, such as any previous eye problems you have had and whether there is any family history of conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts or glaucoma.
Your vision will be assessed with and without your spectacles or contact lenses as appropriate.
This part of the examination is to determine whether you need optical lenses to correct your sight, or whether your existing spectacles are the optimum prescription. We will test both your distance and near vision, as well as your intermediate distance if you complete VDU or music tasks.
Ocular Muscle Balance
This is a very important part of the examination as it checks that the eye muscles are co-ordinated ensuring you have comfortable vision at all distances.
This is to check that your pupils react normally to light as in some neurological disorders you will have abnormal pupil reflexes.
This is a critical part of the examination as it is an assessment of the health of your eyes. Many conditions, such as diabetes, cataracts, hypertension, raised intra-cranial pressure and macula degeneration, can be detected by an eye examination. We also now have a special digital camera to permanently record the health of your eyes.
If the pressure of the fluid inside your eye is raised it can indicate glaucoma.This is a disease which, if undetected, can seriously damage your sight. This test is usually performed on patients over 40 years of age, especially if there is a family history of glaucoma.
Visual Field Testing
Loss of your peripheral field of vision is one of the main signs of glaucoma. It is also a test that can identify other neurological disorders, so where it is appropriate, a visual fields assessment will be performed. To this end, we have just invested in the latest state-of-the-art visual fields screener.
Finally, at the end of the examination, we will explain our findings and give you a copy of your prescription, or a statement explaining that you do/do not need spectacles.
If appropriate, we will introduce you to one of our dispensing opticians who will discuss in detail the best frames and lenses for you and help you with your choice, or discuss the contact lenses options open to you.
If at any stage of the examination you have any questions, or want any procedure explained, please feel free to ask.
To find out more about our the available procedures during an Eye Examination, please see our Additional Procedures page.
We hope you enjoy the experience of having your eyes examined.