The eye exam explained

The health of your eyes is of course of paramount importance, but there are other issues such as how well the eyes work together, choosing the appropriate form of vision correction for your work/lifestyle, and ensuring we are able to foresee any problems in the future.

Below is a brief guide to the eye examination.

History and symptoms

This is concerned with current and previous eye problems and the suitability of any spectacles/contact lenses. General health, medication and family history are important. Conditions such as glaucoma and Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) may run in families.

Measuring the optics of your eyes

Here we find out whether you are long or short sighted and measure the power of lenses to correct for long range vision. There are a series of ‘better or worse’ questions which can be confusing at first but the process follows a logical sequence (although it may not seem so!) your answers cannot result in the wrong powers of lenses being supplied. So don’t worry about getting it wrong!

Examining your eyes in detail

A specialised microscope with a slit beam of light is used to examine the front of the eye under high magnification. This instrument, called a slit lamp may also be used to view the back of the eye. This technique is often used with patients with Diabetes and Glaucoma. Sometimes it is necessary to dilate the pupils with specialised eye drops before this method is used.

Additional Techniques

There are other techniques that may be included in the eye examination: 

Tonometry: Gives a measure of the pressure of the fluid in the eye. This is important for assessing the risk of glaucoma. The instrument used delivers a very mild pulse of air to the front of the eye. Importantly there is no contact with the front surface. 

Visual Fields: Assess the quality of vision in the peripheral field of view. This is conducted using an instrument composed of a bowl inside of which small lights are projected at different locations across the visual field. The patients presses a button when the lights are seen. The procedure is important when assessing many conditions, for example glaucoma.

Retinal Photography: This technique is not included in a routine eye test as it is outside the scope of a normal eye examination. Sometimes, but not always, drops are required to dilate the pupil in order to capture a high quality image. There may be a small charge for this service.