Healthy vision is more than meets the eye​

The what and when of an eye examination

There’s more to healthy eyes than having 20/20 vision. Many make the common mistake of believing that you only need an eye examination prior to getting fitted with glasses. Experience tells us that nothing could be further from the truth.

In most cases, your eyes are the lens through which you first experience all things, so it’s of the utmost importance that you’re aware of their sensitivities. Glare, UV damage, blue light exposure and eye fatigue are all factors that need to be taken into account, not to mention the risk of serious eye disease. To put it simply, you might not be entirely aware of what’s going on with your eyes.

Expert Advice

The only way to know for sure is through regular eye examinations. To maintain good vision throughout your life it’s crucial to detect problems early and work to prevent them where possible. This in turn can save you a whole lot of stress, pain and of course, money.

Which is where our optometrists come in. As opposed to other eyecare professionals who rush through regular check-ups, we devote 30 to 40 comprehensive minutes to a consultation, using only the latest optical innovations to provide everything from general eye health and vision assessments, to stylish eyewear for optimised vision, to serious disease prevention and treatment.

To many of us, we take unimpaired vision for granted by assuming it’ll never change. In reality, the only constant is change and that applies not only to our bodies, our circumstances and our thoughts – but to our eyes as well.

When you visit Quinn & Co. Eyecare, we will conduct a thorough examination of your eye health and vision. This analysis will include one or more of the following:

Using a retinal camera, the optometrist will take a high definition photo of the back of your eye – the retina. The image will also show the optic disk and blood vessels. Retinal photography is critical for the early detection of serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Retinal photography is done in addition to traditional examination techniques as it gives the optometrist a more detailed digital view of the retina, which can be saved to your file and used for comparison to images of your retina in the future, therefore increasing the precision of the testing.

The optometrist uses a binocular microscope called a slip lamp to examine the structures of the front of your eye including your eyelids, cornea, conjunctiva, iris and lens under high magnification. The slit lamp examination can detect a number of eye diseases and conditions including cataracts, corneal ulcers and front surface UV damage. The optometrist may also use the slit lamp together with a Volk lens, or they might use an ophthalmoscope instead, to examine structures at the back of the eye, including the retina, optic nerve and its blood vessels. The optometrist will advise you on the health of these structures.

Ocular Coherence Tomography is another non-invasive imaging test performed by the optometrist to analyse the distinct layers of your retina. By mapping and measuring the thickness of each layer, the optometrist is better able to diagnose and provide treatment guidance for retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

This test detects blind spots and other defects in your field of vision and the baseline results can be used to assess future potential changes in your field of vision. A number of things can cause peripheral vision loss including glaucoma, detached retinas, and brain damage from stroke, disease or injury.

If you suspect you have lost peripheral vision, you should book a comprehensive eye examination with your optometrist, including a visual field test. If you have a sudden decrease in peripheral vision, you should book an appointment immediately as this may indicate a detached retina – this is a medical emergency which needs to be treated as soon as possible to avoid permanent vision loss.

It’s important to be aware that reduced peripheral vision can affect your ability to drive safely and some people may be required to complete a visual field test to ensure they meet the legal requirements to maintain a valid driver’s licence.

The optometrist may use an auto-refractor to obtain an objective measurement of how long or short-sighted you are and an initial prescription for glasses or contact lenses.

During the refraction process, the optometrist will place an instrument called a phoropter in front of your eyes, or use a trial frame, to show you various lens choices whilst you look at the eye chart. The optometrist will confirm how long or short-sighted you are and fine-tune your glasses prescription.

A standard eye examination does not usually include a contact lens fitting, therefore, if you are interested in trying contact lenses for the first time, you will require a subsequent contact lens appointment. During your contact lens assessment, the optometrist will determine your suitability for contact lens wear and find contact lenses that are the right fit for your eyes. For this, the optometrist will need to gather several measurements such as the curvature of your cornea (the front surface of your eye), your pupil and iris size. If you tend to suffer from dry eyes, your optometrist may also perform a tear film evaluation to ensure you’re prescribed contact lenses that will help your eyes maintain enough moisture.

As up to 80% of learning is visual, in addition to performing the routine eye health and vision checks (refraction, clarity of sight, determining whether your child is short-sighted, long-sighted, or has astigmatism), our optometrists may also provide diagnostic assessment and treatment of eye turns, lazy eyes, and binocular vision problems as well as learning-related vision problems.

We work through this full spectrum of evaluations because our interest in your eyes reflects how much importance we place on the ongoing enjoyment of your lifestyle.  These assessments assist with the early detection and optimal treatment or correction of:

  • Long-sightedness (hyperopia) – the ability to see things clearly at a distance, while struggling to focus on objects close to you.
  • Short-sightedness (myopia) – the ability to see things clearly from close up, while struggling to focus on objects at a distance.
  • Astigmatism – the inability to see things clearly at all distances.
  • Glaucoma – a gradual loss of sight due to increased pressure in the eye, leading to optic nerve damage.
  • Macular degeneration – distortion or loss of central vision due to degeneration of the retina.
  • Age-related issues (presbyopia) – loss of vision and the inability to focus up close due to a decrease in elasticity of the eye’s lens/zonules.
  • Photokeratitis or UV keratitis – eye pain, discomfort and decreased functioning due to damage from invisible UV rays.
  • Keratoconus – distorted vision and progressive degeneration due to the thinning of the cornea.
  • Pterygium & pinguecula – are fleshy overgrowths of the conjunctiva that may affect one or both eyes due to various damages such as UV rays and dry eyes.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy – progressive vision disruptions caused by damaged blood vessels onset by diabetes.
  • Colour blindness – the inability to distinguish between different colours, at various levels of severity.
  • Cataracts – increased blurring of vision due to clouding of the lens of the eye.
  • Foreign bodies – assessment and removal of small particles on the front surface of the eye due to things like grinding/welding
  • Dry eyes – discomfort, stinging and burning due to decreased tear production and increased tear film instability.
  • Low vision – visual impairment and decreased acuity due to eye conditions such as cataracts or macular degeneration.

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