Eyes should be examined regularly every 2 years and more frequently for contact lens wearers, children, the elderly and those with some eye and other medical conditions. An eye examination is more than a “sight test” – it is also an important health check that can pick up early signs of eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataract and age related macular degeneration, as well as underlying general health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
What will happen during the eye examination?
Whether you regularly visit the optician or have never been for a sight test before here is a quick guide as to what will happen during your visit:
The optician will initially ask you some questions so they know the reason you have come for your sight test. Most patients come for a test because they have had a reminder letter or wish to purchase new spectacles, but some patients might be experiencing a specific problem such as persistent headaches which the optician can look into and try and help with.
The optician will also ask about any problems you may have had with your eyes previously and will ask about your general health including details of any medication you may take and any significant family history you may have. It is useful for us to know what you use your sight for so a few questions will be asked about your day to day life – whether you drive or are a regular computer user, for instance.
There are several different ways to check the health of your eyes but every method requires a bright light to be shone in your eyes. The optician will explain this as they go along so you will be prepared when it happens. Sometimes the optician will have to get quite close to you in order to see as much as possible, other times they will hold a small lens close to your eye instead.
Then the optician will need to check your sight, and look at any spectacles you may currently use in order to ascertain whether new spectacles need to be prescribed.
During this part you will work with the optician to find the best lenses to give you the clearest vision. If you need or want new spectacles the optician will discuss which lenses would best suit you and your lifestyle and then you can continue to choose your new pair of glasses.
Sometimes there are extra checks that the optician may do like a colour vision test or visual fields screening and these can be done at any point during the examination and will be explained as and when necessary.