What happens during the test?
The examination will include some or all of the following stages, as required.
1. Health, Family history and Symptoms
Since many eye problems are related to the patients physical health and hereditary factors, the first questions your optometrist will ask you are about your general health, medication and family medical history.
Next, your optometrist will discuss your eyes and ask about previous eye ailments, for example whether you wear glasses or contact lenses and if so, for how long and for what purposes you have worn them.
Finally, your optometrist will ask you if you have any eye complaints such as distance or near vision difficulties or headaches. Remember it is important for your optometrist to know if your vision requirements have changed, for example if your job requires more driving and more close-up work.
2. Visual Aquity and Vision Assessment
Your optometrist will measure your vision and compare it with any previous results to give an accurate guide to your eyes’ visual ability.
If you wear spectacles, your optometrist will measure the prescription in them using a special instrument called a Vertometer which reads the prescription of each lens.
This is important as the optometrist will need to know later on whether the prescription is different from the new one and whether it should be changed.
3. Eye Muscle Assessment
Your optometrist will check your eye muscle balance to make sure your eyes are co-ordinated and working together in all directions, and that the images formed by each eye are correctly aligned.
4. Interior and Exterior Eye Examination
Your optometrist will carefully examine the exterior of your eye, checking for signs such as redness or excessive watering of the eyes which may indicate any problems. Furthermore, your optometrist will check if your eyes react normally to light.
5. Assessing your Prescription
Your optometrist will determine whether you are long-sighted, short-sighted, astigmatic or have no optical error at all. This process is called refraction and involves objective tests (where the optometrist observes the results) as well as subjective tests (where you tell him what you see). Each eye is tested separately and then both are checked together to see that the eyes are balanced and working together properly.
6. The results of your eye examination
Your optometrist will now have a complete medical and optical picture of your eyes and he will explain and discuss any prescriptions or instructions that are necessary.
If you have an optical error, he will write out a prescription and make his recommendations to you. Your own knowledge of your visual needs and your judgement about how adequate your uncorrected vision is, will also be a factor in your decision to wear glasses.
If your eye examination reveals any medical condition requiring further examination, your optometrist will refer you to your family doctor, or an opthalmologist.
Finally your optometrist will advise you when to return for your next appointment and if required, will introduce you to the optical assistant/dispenser who will assist you in selecting a new pair of spectacles.