Sections of The Eye Examination
The test may vary slightly, and all of our Optometrists have their own routine for testing you. They will ask about your general health, family history of eye disease, and lifestyle. The basic sections of the test are then as follows.
The refraction section of the test assesses your sight, and tells us if you need any visual correction in the form of glasses or contact lenses. Some people worry that they give the wrong answers, but the Optometrist checks and checks again to get an accurate result.They also use Retinoscopy (see below) so don't ever worry that you've got it wrong!
We use a piece of equipment called a Phoropter or Refractor head, which places lenses in front of your eyes, plus a chart to find out how well you can see. It tells us whether your sight has changed since last time, and we check your standard of vision with and without correction lenses.
Each eye is tested individually, and then together. We keep re-checking your vision with different strength lenses until we are satisfied that your vision is of the highest possible standard for you.
We check your sight for far distance - driving, TV, walking around. For intermediate - computer screens, and bigger print further than arms length. For close work -reading, sewing, intricate detail. Your Optometrist will check the strength of your old specs, and discuss what you do and when you need help, because this affects lenses we may prescribe.
The Optometrist uses an instrument called a Retinoscope to double check the prescription that you need. This is a hand held device which bounces light off the retina and back. There are lenses inside the instrument which focus the light beam and we can very accurately assess your prescription with it.
As it does not require a response from the patient it is invaluable when testing children or patients who cannot easily communicate.
We use another hand held instrument for this, the Ophthalmoscope.
The Optometrist uses it to make a detailed study of the internal structures of your eye, looking at the retina, the optic nerve and the blood vessels inside your eye. This is done in conjunction with the Retinal Imaging or scanning, to confirm eye health and follow up any issues raised by the scan picture. Diseases such as diabetes, macular degeneration and high blood pressure can be diagnosed during this part of the examination.
Your Optometrist has to turn the lights out for this part of the test, to see clearly when they look into your eyes. You will be aware of a bright light shining into your eye, and you'll be asked to look in different directions.
Your pupil is the black circle at the centre of the coloured part of your eye. Your pupils react to light conditions and other stimulus by getting bigger or smaller. We check that your pupil reaction to light is healthy and normal. Abnormal pupil reactions may be a sign of neurological diseases, but thankfully the incidence of this is very rare.
The movement of each of your eyeballs is governed by muscles, and the muscles of both eyes have to work together. If they don't work together you may suffer from double vision, or possibly eye strain. This is a simple test where we ask you to judge the alignment of red lines either against a light or a chart that reads OXO.