Everyone should have their eyes examined regularly. How often depends on a number of factors and your eye care practitioner will tell you when you should be seen again. You should not leave it more than two years between eye examinations, even if you think your vision is fine. Your eye examination will be performed by a qualified Optometrist.
An eye examination is not just a check to see if you need spectacles or contact lenses. A full eye examination checks the health of your eyes as well as your vision. We also check that the muscles controlling your eyes are working properly and can advise you on ways of reducing eyestrain at home and at work. Some eye conditions can lead to blindness if they are not detected and treated early enough. Some conditions, such as glaucoma, cause damage long before you develop any symptoms. Eye examinations can save lives. An optometrist could be the first person to detect high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.
Vision & Prescription check – This is where we check what you can (or can’t!) see with and without your existing spectacles or contact lenses and see if we can improve your vision in any way. No two eye examinations will ever be exactly the same as we may choose different tests depending on any symptoms you may have. If you use a computer at work you may be entitled to a specific VDU examination paid for by your employer.
Examining the health of the eye. This is the bit that a lot of people find disconcerting but it is one of the most important clinical aspects of the examination. We use various machines to check the health of your eyes, including performing 3D scans of the eye with our OCT scanner.
Additional tests There are several additional tests that we can perform if we need more information about the health of your eyes. You may not have all of these tests at every examination. Some of these are only routinely performed on clients over a certain age and some are performed if people complain of certain symptoms. We are always happy to explain what we are doing so please don’t be afraid to ask.
Field test – this checks your peripheral vision which can be affected by a number of conditions including glaucoma. It is the one with the flashing dots.
Slit lamp examination – this is like a large microscope that we usually use to examine the outside of your eye in greater detail. It is used at all contact lens aftercare appointments.
Pressure test – we don’t use the dreaded “puff test” that most high street opticians use. Instead we use a small hand held device that does not puff at you or require any drops. This new device is called an iCare tonometer. The pressure test is used to measure the pressure inside your eyes to monitor for potential glaucoma. We may still occasionally need to use the Perkins (drops) test to confirm readings if the iCare readings are much higher than expected
Discussion of your eye-care needs – This is the final part of your examination. We will go over the results of the tests that we have performed and advise you if you need to change your current spectacles or contact lenses, if you need to start wearing them for certain tasks, or if we need to refer you to your GP for some reason. Once we have gone over the results we will give you a copy of your prescription and, if necessary, introduce you to another member of the team who will help you choose some new spectacles or book you in for a contact lens fitting.
DSE/VDU examination If you use a computer screen as part of your daily work your employer has certain obligations under the health & Safety regulations. You can find out more here.
If you have booked an eye examination because you are having problems that you think may be linked to your computer use, then the following information will enable your optometrist to tailor the advice and your vision correction to your specific needs, rather than just giving generalised advice.
- Any symptoms associated with VDU work (e.g. itchy or dry eyes, headaches, tiredness)
- How long is spent at a VDU in any one session
- How long is spent at a VDU in a day
- Position of screen (e.g. above or below eye level, off to one side)
- Distance from eye to screen and from eye to any documents
- Angle and distance between documents and screen
- Size of the screen, its resolution and refresh rates (if known)
Optical Coherence Topography (OCT)An OCT scan has been likened to an MRI scan for your eyes. We see it more as an MOT. It enables us to see beneath the surface of the retina and build up a detailed 3D image of the layers of the retina. Our Topcon Maestro OCT can help identify the very earliest signs of glaucoma and macular degeneration. As eye-care professionals we have chosen to invest in the OCT as we believe it offers our patients the latest in comprehensive eye-care. We recommend OCT for all our adult patients as part of an ongoing ocular health assessment, but especially for those people who are most at risk of eye conditions. We recommend OCT if:
- You have a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration and are over 40 years of age.
- You are over 50 years of age. The risk of conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and vitreous detachment increase as we get older.
As one would expect, an OCT scan goes above and beyond what is covered by the NHS for a standard sight test. As a result there is a small additional charge for having this procedure done if you are having an NHS sight test, but we believe it is vital in spotting the early signs of sight loss. Please ask a member of staff for more information on OCT scans.
OCT scans are included as standard for all our Eyeplan members who receive unlimited enhanced eye examinations as part of their membership.