Your eyes are arguably the most complex part of your body, look after them...
A regular eye examination should be part of your ongoing holistic health care programme. Examining the eye not only reveals eye problems but systemic illnesses too, e.g diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Increasingly the health of the eye forms a large part of the eye examination.
All Allders optometrists are highly-trained, experienced, primary health-care practitioners, taking 3 years to gain a BSc(Hons) degree in optometry and followed by a further year in practice to obtain a MCOptom. Each is registered with the GOC and undertakes continual training.
They are qualified to prescribe spectacles; to recognise and know when to refer any pathology seen; to be able to assess any problems with the position and movement of the eyes; to fit contact lenses; to dispense any spectacles required.
The following tells you about the main parts of a comprehensive eye examination, although every examination will be different - the optometrist will tailor it to your needs - and may use other tests not listed here.
History and Symptoms
An important element, here ocular symptoms and your and your family's general and ocular health and any relevant history, eg cataracts, diabetes, glaucoma, etc should be discussed. Any long term medication is noted.
Vision and Visual Acuity
Your ability to read the chart is measured without and with any correction, in the distance and at near. Your specific visual requirements will be discussed.
By shining a light onto the pupil, it's reactions are noted.
Eye Muscle Movements
You have 2 eyes that need to work well together to see single objects clearly in 3 dimensions easily. Tests are performed to ascertain that this is the case.
Exterior and Interior Eye Examination
A choice of 3 instruments may be used. Firstly a slit-lamp, a binocular illuminated microscope, can observe the exterior eye and with additional lenses the interior eye too. Secondly, an ophthalmoscope shines a light directly into the eye to look at the retina. Thirdly, a camera, known as a fundus camera takes a photograph of the retina.
Finding Your Prescription
This comprises 3 parts and is called the refraction. The first, objective refraction, uses a retinoscope that directs light into the eye allowing the practitioner to calculate your prescription. The second, subjective refraction, takes into account your responses. The third is to balance the 2 eyes so that not only can you see as clearly as possible but with great comfort. You may require a second prescription, perhaps for reading, sewing, or for sports.
Several parts of the eye may alert the practitioner to be suspicious of glaucoma, but the one that most people love is the "puff of air" which measures the internal pressure of the eye. If after a second set of readings the pressure in one or both eyes is higher than normal, you may be referred.
A visual fields test assesses your peripheral vision. A child's examination, for example, will include colour vision and 3D tests.
The optometrist will advise you about care of your eyes and visual requirements. Following the consultation you will be handed over to the dispensing optician.