The examination will start with the optometrist asking the reason for your visit, a detailed history will be taken of any specific concerns you have, it will also include any ocular of general health problems you have or have had in the past.
Your Eyesight will then be checked, for most adults and older children this is done by reading letters but don’t worry there are several other methods for people who would find this difficult.
The optometrist will then carry out a number of tests that assess your visual function including how well your eyes move and work together (binocular vision) and whether you would benefit from wearing spectacles or contact lenses.
Your eye health will then be examined, firstly a detailed examination of the front of the eye and eyelids will be carried out using a microscope called a slitlamp, this is followed by an internal inspection of the eye with an Ophthalmoscope (a hand held microscope) or a high powered Volk lens. It is occasionally necessary for us to instill drops which make your pupils dilate enabling a much wider view of the inner eye. Depending on your age and other risk factors we may follow this with the air puff test to check the fluid pressure inside your eye and a peripheral vision test. At the end of the examination, we will explain our findings in easy to understand terms and if you have any questions we will be more than happy to answer them for you. We will also at this point discuss any further tests that may be relevant such as an OCT scan.
Children’s eye examinations
We are regularly asked by parents “what age should my child start having eye examinations?” The answer is if you are at all concerned about your child’s vision or the appearance of their eyes there is no lower limit, we are fully equipped and experienced to examine children of any age. It is also a common misconception that a test can only be performed if a person can recognise letters. The examination is tailored to the level of each individual, after all not even all adults can read.
In the absence of any specific concerns however an ideal age to start routine examinations is three years old. At this stage it is very different from an adult examination but we can thoroughly check the ocular health and make sure all aspects of visual function are developing correctly. Also at this age if any problems with binocular vision (how both eyes work together) is found such as Amblyopia (lazy eye) or Strabismus (Squint) a lot can be done to correct it. Beyond 7 years of age little improvement can be expected.
All eye examinations for children under 16 are paid for by the NHS. If spectacles are required we stock a wide range of frames whose cost is also entirely covered by a childs NHS status, so there is really no reason to not have your child’s eyes examined.