There are eye examinations and there are eye examinations. At Vision Excellence in Norwest, we believe that an eye test should be comprehensive to check the health of your eyes, maximise your vision outcomes and look for early warning signs of any risks to your vision.
Our commitment to the health of your eyes is not just limited to taking measurements though. At Vision Excellence, we believe that an important part of the eye examination is to explain to our Hills District patients what the results mean and give advice about the best steps you can take to maintain your vision at its best now and into the future.
At Vision Excellence, we conduct a comprehensive examination of your eyes to enable us to assess and develop strategies to protect the health of your eyes and deliver the best vision that your eyes are able to achieve.
As part of your comprehensive eye test we will obtain an accurate refraction, ensuring that the two eyes are working together as a team. We then thoroughly check the health of your eyes. We don’t just check the pressure of the eyes and have a quick look at the central part of each retina. The equipment in our Norwest practice allows us to get a widefield image of almost all of the retina and, if necessary, we can get a three-dimensional scan of your macula, your optic nerve and other parts of your eye that may be at risk of disease.
Our glaucoma assessment includes very sensitive tests of subtle changes to your eyes that occur well before you start to lose your peripheral vision so that we can initiate referral for early treatment to prevent blindness. We also screen for cataracts and have specialised instrumentation that quantifies risk and progression of macular degeneration and keratoconus. We keep permanent records of your eye test, including secure backups off-site locally, so we have baselines with which to compare later in your life allowing us to carefully monitor any changes to your vision as time goes on.
Some examples of the tests we conduct as part of your comprehensive eye exam include:
Measuring your eyes to obtain an accurate prescription for your glasses or contact lenses should be a simple refraction process, but in many cases the eyes behave in a more complex way than you would imagine
Much of the information that is necessary to obtain a suitable prescription comes from you in a process called subjective refraction. Many of our patients report a history of anxiety in regard to giving the “right” answers when asked to make judgments about the clarity of images during the refraction process. For this reason, our optometrist likes to take a little extra time during the testing and, if necessary, to double-check or even triple-check your answers to the questions about which view is clearer. We like our patients to be as comfortable and as unhurried as possible during refraction so that a high level of confidence is achieved.
What is the point of making each eye see clearly if the two eyes do not work as a team? If the brain is getting information from two eyes that are not working together, this may result in double vision (‘diplopia’) where one eye will see one thing and the other eye will be seeing something entirely different.
The visual system of the brain may also ignore the signals coming from one of the eyes (‘suppression’) which means that the composite vision is deprived of 50% of the information being provided by the eyes. This deprives a person of the richness of what we call stereoscopic vision. In children, suppression can result in amblyopia (often called “lazy eye”), a condition where one of the eyes does not develop properly and, if not treated by about age 6 or 7, can result in a permanent and irreversible deficiency in the clarity of vision.
Eye examinations should only be performed by an experienced and registered practitioner. Online eye tests do not provide the depth of examination necessary to assess the performance and health of your eyes. Your eyes are extremely complicated organs and could be impacted by any number of physiological issues or lifestyle factors which an online test is simply not equipped to detect.
We recommend that all our patients book a comprehensive eye exam with us every two years (unless advised to see us more regularly due to underlying medical factors) to allow us to fully understand and protect your vision. Reliance on online programs with their associated limitations does not provide you with the level of care that your eyes require.
Before coming to your appointment at our Norwest practice, we encourage you to consider your visual needs, whether you need to see clearly at unusual distances when performing specific tasks, for example; in different work situations or when involved in particular activities such as involvement in sport or playing a musical instrument. Our optometrist always appreciates a challenge in prescribing the best optical solutions to our patients’ visual needs. Measurement of distances and even photographs or videos of your involvement in your chosen activity will often assist us in this regard to maximize your visual potential.