We recommend that you have an eye examination at least every two years and for young children and people aged over 70, we recommend an eye test every year, or more often if advised by your Optician.
Eyes are the most valuable of our senses, so it is important to care for them. Regular eye examinations not only identify potential problems with your eyesight but also provide a gauge to your overall health. The eyes can give an early indication of common health problems, like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
We are committed to providing the highest standards when it comes to eye examinations and dedicate sufficient time to all our patients to ensure the very best in eye care. You can rest assured that our fully qualified Opticians will provide an accurate assessment of your vision and use the latest technology to assess the health of your eyes providing step-by-step explanations so you know exactly what is involved at each stage.
There are different ways to perform the tests in your eye examination and your Optician will select the tests most appropriate for you. This provides an eye examination which is tailored to suit your individual needs and the following guide shows a typical example of each.
Digital Retinal Photography
Lots of eye health problems can be treated – or even prevented – if caught in time, so we check your eye health by looking right to the back of your eye. We are able to take a digital retinal photograph of inside your eyes using a specialist camera, allowing our Opticians to look in far greater detail at the health of your inner eye. Regular retinal screening allows the Optician to make year-on-year comparisons of the health of your eyes and detect any changes that have occurred.
You simply rest your chin and forehead on the pads of the screening machine whilst photographs of your inner eye are taken. This test only takes a few minutes and at no point do we touch your eye or cause any discomfort.
A specialised machine gently blows a few puffs of air at each of your eyes in turn. The air bounces back at the instrument, giving a measurement of the pressure inside each eye. This is an important test, as high pressure can indicate the early stages of glaucoma, a sight-threatening condition.
History and Symptoms
The Optician asks questions about your health, your family’s health, your work and your lifestyle. It is very important to have a clear understanding of your vision needs, especially if a specific problem is the reason for your visit.
The Optician may use an instrument called a retinoscope, which bounces a light beam off the back of your eye and into the instrument. Different lenses focus the reflected light beam until it is steady, giving a close guide to the prescription you need.
The retinoscope is very accurate – it is used to test the sight of very small children, or people with communication difficulties who are unable to easily describe how clearly they can see.
The Test Chart
The test chart is probably the most familiar piece of equipment used by your Optician to check your eyesight. The most common chart is the Snellen chart, which is a series of letters of differing sizes, ranging from the largest at the top to the smallest at the bottom. The Optician fine-tunes their findings by asking you to read the test chart through different strengths of lenses. The results for one eye often vary from those for the other, so each eye will be tested individually.
The Optician flips different lenses in front of your eyes that change how clearly you can see. Depending on your answers, the Optician changes the lenses until you have the clearest, most comfortable vision possible.
The Optician uses an ophthalmoscope to examine the retina at the back of the eye, including the blood vessels and the front of the optic nerve. This important test can detect changes which can indicate diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. The Optician darkens the room and will get quite close to you while they shine a bright light into each eye in turn.
The Slit Lamp
The slit lamp is a powerful, illuminated microscope that is used to examine the outer surface of your eyes – the cornea, the iris and the lens – to check for abnormalities or scratches. The slit lamp examination is particularly important for contact lens wearers, as the lens sits directly on the surface of the eye. It is used to check the fit of contact lenses, and allows the monitoring of any changes in your eyes due to contact lens wear.
Visual Field Screener
The visual field screener is used to determine your field of vision and locate any ‘blind spots’ within that field. During the test, you will be asked to look at a spot in the centre of the machine and respond to lights flashing around this central target.
Discussing your Needs
Throughout the examination, your Optician will clearly explain each test to you and how your eyes are responding. Once all the tests have been completed, you will then have time to ask any questions you may have and the results of the eye test will be explained. You may be recommended corrective lenses to improve your vision and your Optician will then discuss your options with you depending on your lifestyle and needs.
Your details will then be handed to a dispensing advisor who will give you expert advice on choosing your new glasses.