Your Eye Examination
A full vision examination at Tarbutt Optometrists usually takes at least 30-45 minutes. This period of time is needed to perform all the tests necessary to thoroughly assess your eyes, their health and their visual efficiency. Sometimes additional tests are required and a second appointment may be needed for these.
During your examination a health history will be taken. It is important for you to provide all information, regardless of how insignificant you might think it is.
Depending on the reason for your eye examination, tests may be performed which assess:
General physical health
Clarity of vision
Near focusing ability
Eye muscle co-ordination
Cataract and macular function
and other tests appropriate for each individual.
Following the examination, your optometrist will fully explain the results and discuss their recommendations and answer any questions you may have. If your optometrist finds any sign of eye disease or of general health problems, arrangements may need to be be made for you to see an ophthalmologist (an eye doctor) or your GP.
During Your Eye Examination
Everyone should have regular checks of their vision and eye health. Such an eye examination is a routine and should be an enjoyable experience.
Don't worry about making a mistake or giving the wrong answer- your optometrist uses a number of techniques to check and recheck results
Don't hesitate to say if you are unable to answer some of the questions
Sometimes your optometrist needs to deliberately blur your vision- so don't be alarmed if, during the examination, you find your vision getting worse instead of better.
Your optometrist will look inside your eye during the consultation. Some of the instruments need fairly bright lights to allow inspection of the back of your eye- the lights, while bright, won't damage your eyes.
Therapeutic Optometrists are qualified and registered to treat certain eye diseases and injuries, prescribe some medicines and perform other procedures including foreign body removal.
An important part of your eye examination includes an overall visual health examination of the eyes. Many changes caused by eye disease occur slowly and without obvious signs of discomfort. These include glaucoma cataracts and macular degeneration and health problems such as diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) can also cause changes in the eye.
Our examination equipment includes a retinal camera that photographs the back of the eye and is a diagnostic tool giving optimum patient care. In the same way that a dentist uses x-ray as part of the dental care process, so the retinal camera provides our optometrists with essential information and can demonstrate any changes that have occurred between examinations. Regular eye examinations are important so that changes can be detected, monitored or, if necessary, referred.
Visual Fields Investigation
This is important in the diagnosis and management of a number of eye and general health conditions, including glaucoma. We use a computerised instrument to test your peripheral vision and to map the visual fields. The side vision map produced by the computerised perimetry text shows exactly where different intensities of light were seen (or not seen) in your field of vision.
Dilated Fundus Examination
When examining the back of the eye (the retina), your optometrist has a number of techniques at their disposal. Most require shining a bright light in your eyes. This light does no harm to your eyes but it may dazzle for a short period of time.
To overcome this, we may use eye drops that temporarily prevent your pupils reacting to light stimuli enlarging your pupils. These eye drops are known as mydriatics. They enhance the standard of retinal observation and allow your optometrist to examine your eye more thoroughly.
There can be a few temporary side effects. Firstly, since your pupils will take a while to regain their function, your eyes will feel more sensitive to glare and bright light for about 2-3 hours. Also, your ability to focus or see clearly may be limited for about 2-3 hours. These side effects are generally a minor inconvenience only, and definitely worthwhile so that you know that your are as healthy as they can be. However if we are using these drops, we recommend you don’t drive until their effect has worn off.
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that can occur at any age, but it is more common as we grow older. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in New Zealand. When diagnosed early, vision loss from glaucoma is usually controllable with ongoing treatment.
In most people this damage is due to increased pressure inside the eye. In other patients the damage will be caused by poor blood supply to the fibres of the optic nerve or problems in the health or structure of the nerve itself.
How does glaucoma affect sight?
Uncontrolled glaucoma will initially cause blind spots or reduced vision in the peripheral vision. People often don’t notice these until considerable damage is caused. Although damage usually progresses very slowly, it is irreversible. Treatment cannot recover vision that has already been lost - but it can at least slow down or halt the damage process.
For some people there is a sudden and large increase in fluid pressure inside the eye causing symptoms which include blurred vision, severe pain, coloured rings around lights, and even nausea and vomiting. If this occurs it is important to seek attention immediately to avoid permanent loss of vision.
Regular eye examinations are the best way to detect glaucoma. All these procedures and tests are painless. These include your optometrist testing for glaucoma by examining the optic nerve at the back of your eye, checking your eye pressure, measuring your corneal thickness and assessing your peripheral vision.
Risk factors for developing glaucoma include:
Family history of glaucoma
Past and present us of ‘steroid’ drugs