What Happens at an Eye Test Appointment?

January 30, 2024

Categories:

Have you ever found yourself wondering about what really happens during an eye test?

I’m Damon Ezekiel, the principal optometrist here at Ezekiel Eyes, and along with my fellow optometrist Rhiannon Richer, we’re passionate about demystifying this process for our Perth community.

“An eye test goes well beyond simply checking how well you can see,” I often tell our patients. It’s a thorough examination of both your vision and overall eye health.

At an eye test appointment, an optometrist assesses your visual acuity using an eye chart, checks eye movement and alignment, and employs advanced diagnostics like OCT scans, visual field screening, and retinal photography to examine the health of your cornea, retina, and optic nerve, ensuring comprehensive evaluation of both vision and eye health.

There’s a common misconception that having clear vision means having healthy eyes. However, this isn’t always the case. I recall Miriam, a retiree who came for what she thought was a routine check-up. She had no issues with her vision, yet our comprehensive eye test uncovered early signs of glaucoma. This early detection allowed us to manage the condition effectively, averting potential severe damage to their vision.

Ignoring regular eye tests can lead to overlooking critical health issues. It’s important to remember that many eye conditions develop slowly and might not be noticeable until they’ve progressed significantly. This is why regular eye exams are essential for early detection.

The frequency of eye checks varies: we recommend a review of your eye health every 2 years, while those with a family history of eye problems should have annual exams to check for conditions like glaucoma, macula degeneration, and cataracts. Depending on the patients individual health  and medications being used more regular eye reviews are required. Children should have vision checks as newborns and this takes place with a paediatrician. More formal assessments starting at primary school age and eye tests every 1 to 2 years after first grade. This depends from child to child as to the frequency required to be reviewed.

If you’re feeling uncertain about your eye health or it’s been some time since your last eye exam, I encourage you to schedule an appointment with us. At Ezekiel Eyes, we’re friendly and welcoming, always ready to discuss any concerns or questions you might have about your eye health. You can reach us easily by phone or through our website.

And if you’d just like to learn more about what happens during the eye test itself, read on!

 

Eye test Perth, Western Australia.

Understanding the Eye Test Process

Understanding the eye test process at Ezekiel Eyes is key to recognising the value and importance of regular eye care. Our approach is thorough, patient-focused, and driven by the latest advancements in eye health technology.

Initial Consultation

The journey begins with an initial consultation. This is where we, as your eye care specialist, take the time to understand your lifestyle, visual goals, and any concerns you might have. It’s not just about assessing your vision; it’s about getting to know you and how your eyes affect your daily life. This personal approach ensures that the eye care solutions we offer are perfectly tailored to your needs.

Different Types of Eye Exams

  • Comprehensive Eye Exam: This is an in-depth evaluation of both your vision and overall eye health. At Ezekiel Eyes, we use state-of-the-art equipment to conduct these exams, which are designed to detect a range of issues. Beyond assessing your need for glasses or contact lenses, these exams can uncover early signs of serious health conditions such as glaucoma, macula degeneration, diabetes, and hypertension. It’s a crucial step in not just maintaining good vision but also in safeguarding your overall health.
  • Diagnostic Eye Exam: We utilise specialised exams conducted when a specific eye condition is suspected or to follow up on unusual results from a routine exam. Using advanced diagnostic technology, we delve deeper into identifying and understanding any particular eye health issues you may be experiencing.
  • Routine Eye Exams: Regular check-ups are fundamental to maintaining good eye health. These exams focus mainly on assessing your vision and determining whether you need vision correction, whether your vision correction needs adjusting, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. They are an essential part of eye care, ensuring that any changes in your vision are identified and addressed promptly.

At Ezekiel Eyes, we pride ourselves on going beyond the basics. Whether it’s your first visit or a routine check-up, our goal is to ensure that every aspect of your eye health is thoroughly assessed and taken care of. If you’re due for an eye exam or have any concerns about your vision or eye health, we invite you to schedule an appointment with us. Our experienced team is ready to provide you with the highest level of eye care.

To learn more about what makes us special at Ezekiel Eyes, watch my video where I introduce our practice.

 

 

Our Diagnostic Process and Equipment

At Ezekiel Eyes, we’re proud to employ a blend of modern technology and proven methods in our diagnostic process, ensuring that each eye test is as thorough and accurate as possible.

Visual Acuity Test

This fundamental test measures the sharpness of your vision, using a Snellen eye chart to determine how well you can see at various distances.

Refraction Assessment

We use this to determine your exact lens prescription. By assessing how light rays bend as they pass through your cornea and lens, we can pinpoint any refractive errors like near sightedness, far sightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia.

Eye Muscle Movement Test

This evaluates the muscles controlling eye movement, ensuring they are functioning correctly and that your eyes are working together as a team-binocular vision.

Visual Field Test (Perimetry)

Perimetry tests check for any missing areas in your visual field, which can be an early sign of conditions like glaucoma and macula degermation.

Slit-Lamp Examination

A slit-lamp gives us a magnified, 3D view of the front one third of your eye, allowing us to examine the health of your cornea, iris, lens, and anterior chamber.

Retinal Examination (Ophthalmoscopy)

This examination allows us to see the back of your eye, including the retina, optic disc, and blood vessels, crucial for detecting conditions like retinal detachment, glaucoma or macula degeneration.

Tonometry (Applanation and Non-contact)

This test measures the pressure inside your eyes, which is vital for glaucoma detection. We use both applanation and non-contact methods for accuracy and comfort.

Pupil Dilation

Dilating your pupils gives us a better view of the internal structures of your eye. It’s an important part of a comprehensive eye exam, especially for detecting diseases. If you have one of these tests, it’s often a good idea to bring along a pair of sunglasses and arrange a ride home. Your eyes will be glare sensitive for a few hours afterwards.

Corneal Topography

This is used to map the surface curvature of the cornea (the front surface of the eye), essential for contact lens fitting and assessing conditions like keratoconus, post-surgery, dry eyes and myopia management.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

OCT scanning provides us with cross-sectional images of the retina and the cornea. It’s invaluable for diagnosing and monitoring conditions like Digital Retinal Imaging

This allows us to take detailed pictures of your retina. It’s essential for ongoing monitoring and detection of retinal diseases. These images investigate the macula and optic nerve in detail.

Pachymetry

Measuring the thickness of your cornea can play a role in determining your risk for glaucoma, as well as being crucial for laser eye surgery candidates.

Dry Eye Tests

We assess the quantity and quality of your tear film, vital for diagnosing and treating dry eye syndrome.

Colour Vision Tests for Adults: Particularly important for occupations that require precise colour discernment, such as graphic design or electrical work. At Ezekiel Eyes, we ensure our adult patients receive comprehensive colour vision testing, aiding in both career choices and enhancing daily life where colour differentiation is key.

 

Eye checkup in Perth, Western Australia.

Eye Health Problems Detected by Comprehensive Eye Exams

At Ezekiel Eyes, we understand the critical role comprehensive eye exams play in detecting a wide range of eye health problems. Our thorough examinations are designed to identify and address various conditions, often before they become more serious. Here are some of the eye health issues we routinely check for:

Cataracts: This is a common condition where the lens of your eye becomes cloudy, leading to a decrease in vision. It’s a condition that often develops with age, and regular eye exams are key to monitoring its progression.

Glaucoma: Known as the “silent thief of sight,” glaucoma often has no symptoms in its early stages. It’s characterized by increased pressure in the eye, which can damage the optic nerve. Early detection through comprehensive eye exams is crucial to prevent serious vision loss.

Macular Degeneration: This involves the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, known as the macula. It affects central vision and is a leading cause of vision loss among older adults. Regular exams help in early detection and management.

Diabetic Retinopathy: For individuals with diabetes, regular eye exams are essential. Diabetic retinopathy involves damage to the blood vessels in the retina and can lead to vision impairment.

Retinal Detachment: This serious condition occurs when the retina separates from its supporting layers. Early detection is crucial to prevent permanent vision loss.

Dry Eye Syndrome: Characterized by insufficient tear production or poor-quality tears, dry eye syndrome can lead to discomfort and vision problems. It’s a condition we frequently diagnose and treat at our clinic.

Corneal Diseases: Conditions affecting the cornea, like keratoconus and corneal dystrophies, can significantly impact vision. We use advanced technology to diagnose and manage these diseases effectively.

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye): Often developing in childhood, amblyopia is reduced vision in one eye caused by abnormal visual development. Early detection and treatment are vital for preventing long-term issues.

Strabismus (Crossed Eyes): This condition, where the eyes are misaligned, can occur in both children and adults. It’s important to address it early to prevent further complications.

Eye Infections and Inflammations: Conditions like conjunctivitis (pink eye) or uveitis (inflammation of the uvea) can be uncomfortable and sometimes serious. We’re equipped to diagnose and treat these effectively.

Regular comprehensive eye exams at Ezekiel Eyes are your first line of defence in identifying and managing these conditions. If you have concerns about your eye health or if it’s time for your regular check-up, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us. We’re committed to providing the highest standard of care for your eyes.

The following table is taken from Optometry Australia’s 2022 Vision Index report and highlights the frequency of eye exams in the Australian community.

Percentage Description
75% Australians value vision as their most important sense
13% Australians have never seen an optometrist
26% Australians haven’t had an eye examination within the last two years
97% Australians reporting concerns with their eyesight during the pandemic
94% Australians had eyesight concerns according to 2020 data
29% Of those who never had an eye exam, think their vision is perfect
28% Of those who never had an eye exam, think it’s too expensive
15% Of those who never had an eye exam, are afraid of the results
86% Of survey respondents have had their eyes checked

 

Table data from: https://www.optometry.org.au/wp-content/uploads/GVFL/Vision_Index/2022-Vision-Index-Report.pdf

General Health Problems Detected by Comprehensive Eye Exams

At Ezekiel Eyes, we’re not just focused on your vision but also on your overall health. Comprehensive eye exams can be a window into your general health, revealing signs of systemic conditions. Here are some general health problems that can be detected through a thorough eye examination:

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): Signs of high blood pressure can be seen in the blood vessels in the retina, which may show narrowing or bleeding, indicating changes in your cardiovascular health.

Diabetes: Early diabetic changes can often be detected through alterations in the retinal blood vessels. These changes are a crucial indicator for diabetes management.

High Cholesterol: This condition can be identified through visible changes in the retinal blood vessels or the presence of plaques, which appear as bright spots on the vessels.

Thyroid Disease: Eye-related symptoms of thyroid diseases, such as Graves’ disease, can include bulging eyes or eyelid retraction, which are noticeable during an eye exam.

Autoimmune Disorders: Conditions like lupus can have ocular manifestations, affecting various parts of the eye and potentially impacting vision.

Tumours: Some tumours, benign or malignant, can be detected through their effect on eye structures or vision, underscoring the importance of regular eye exams.

Neurological Disorders: Conditions like multiple sclerosis can have early signs that are visible in the eyes, such as changes in the optic nerve or visual field.

Risk of Stroke: Certain conditions of the retinal vessels can be indicative of an increased risk of stroke, making regular eye exams a crucial part of preventative health care.

Brain Tumours: These can cause specific types of visual field loss or optic nerve swelling, detectable in a comprehensive eye exam.

Intracranial Hypertension: Increased pressure within the skull can manifest as optic nerve swelling, which can be identified during an eye exam.

Your eyes tell a story that goes beyond just your vision. At Ezekiel Eyes, we’re committed to ensuring that your eye exams are thorough and informative, contributing to your overall health and well-being. If it’s time for your eye exam or if you have concerns about your eye or general health, we encourage you to book an appointment with us. We’re here to provide comprehensive care that looks at the bigger picture of your health through the lens of your eyes.

Conclusion

At Ezekiel Eyes, we’re not just about checking how well you can see; we’re about looking after your entire eye health. It’s thorough care that helps us spot not just eye-related issues but also gives us clues about your overall health.

So, why not book your next eye test with us at Ezekiel Eyes? We’ve got all the latest technology to check your eyes thoroughly, and our team, including myself, Damon Ezekiel, and my colleague Rhiannon Richer, is all about giving you friendly, personalised care. Whether it’s for a full-on eye exam, a specific concern, or just your regular check, we’ve got you covered.

Booking is easy – just give us a call at (08) 9386 3620 or hit the “Book an Appointment” button on our website.

Regular eye exams are a key part of looking after yourself, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

optometrist-damon-ezekiel

In addition to owning and managing Ezekiel Eyes, Damon is a contact lens consultant to various research organisations. He regularly lectures and conducts workshops in contact lens practice throughout Australia, Asia and the United States. Damon graduated from the University of NSW with a Bachelor of Optometry in 1989. He is now married with two children and enjoys running, hockey, swimming, piano, travelling and trekking.

Damon’s professional associations include:
President of the International Society of Contact Lens Specialists
Practising Fellow of the Scleral Lens Education Society
Fellow of the Cornea & Contact Lens Society of Australia
Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry
Member of Optometry Australia
Member of the Orthokeratology Society of Australia
Member of Alcon Australia advisory panel