Frequently Asked Questions

 

Eye examinations

Answers

1. How often do I need one?

 

For children from pre-school age to Year 4, we recommend an eye examination each year. This is because it is common for young children to not realise or mention that they are having trouble with their vision. If there are any problems present, it is important to pick these up early so that learning is not impeded.

 

For everyone else – that is from Year 4 right through adulthood – we recommend eye examinations every two years.

 

If there is a history of any type of eye problem (including a family history of eye disease such as glaucoma or macular degeneration), we may recommend that you have an examination more frequently.

 

Wearers of contact lenses are advised to attend annually for an eye examination.

 

2. What’s involved?

 

Our practice offers comprehensive eye examinations using the very latest in vision care technology. Our eye examinations are designed to assess vision skills as well as to detect and help prevent the onset of a range of eye diseases or eye health problems.

 

Patients find the tests very comfortable and they are often quite interested in the processes we undertake to review the state of their vision and eye health.

 

An eye examination can include testing of:

  • clarity of vision where we assess short and long distance visual skills
  • the internal health of the eyes and their external surface
  • eye movement
  • focusing skills
  • eye-teaming skills
  • eye pressure
  • depth perception
  • colour vision
  • visual processing skills

 

If you or a close family member has a history of a particular eye problem, additional tests may be involved.

 

If any type of problem is detected, we will make a recommendation to address it, explaining what we are proposing in an easy-to-understand way.

 

 

 

 

3. Can I claim anything back from my health fund or Medicare?

A consultation with an optometrist once every two years is usually claimable under Medicare. If you have a specific clinical reason to be reviewed more often however, it may be possible to claim more frequently. We can lodge a claim with Medicare on your behalf.

 

If your medical expenses have exceeded the Medicare safety net, there may be little or no fee involved.

 

If you have private health insurance, it is usually possible to claim at least some portion back from your health fund for products such as frames, lenses or contact lenses each year.

 

 

4. Will I need to have drops in my eyes?

Not necessarily. It is possible for many types of tests to be performed without the need for eye drops.

 

There are some medical conditions however, where drops are necessary to accurately assess eye problems.

 

The eye drops we use in eye examinations work by dilating your pupils, enabling more light to enter your eyes. This can make it difficult to cope with glare immediately after the test. If eye drops are required, we recommend that you allow at least an hour or two after the test before attempting tasks such as driving, and also wear sunglasses if it is a sunny day.

 

5. Is eye testing much the same from all types of optometrists?

No, it’s not. Our practice offers comprehensive eye examinations which review a wide range of eye health issues apart from simply testing eyesight.

 

We look at the health of your eyes, how well your eyes are functioning and also how well your vision meets the needs of your lifestyle, such as occupational or sporting demands.

 

The clinical aspect of your eye examination is very important in caring for the health of your eyes. This becomes particularly important beyond the age of 40 when the risk of eye disease increases significantly.

 

Most eye diseases don’t exhibit any symptoms, especially in the early stages. That’s why early detection is so important to help you to halt the progress of any disease or to reverse it where possible.


 

Eye health habits

 

6. How can I help prevent or alleviate tired eyes?

Having tired eyes is a common problem, particularly when we spend prolonged periods focusing on any one thing.

 

This can include extended use of computers and hand-held games, watching television or reading books as examples. Each of these can contribute significantly to eye fatigue.

 

Adopting good eye health habits is a great way to prevent or ease the burden on your eyes. You can do this by making sure you:

  • take regular breaks
  • change the distance of what you are looking at frequently
  • have good lighting
  • maintain correct posture
  • position yourself a comfortable distance from what you are looking at (about an arm’s length in the case of a computer monitor)
  • wear your glasses or contact lenses if they are designed to help with the task you are doing
  • pay attention to the drying effects of air conditioning and use comfort drops if needed
  • blink regularly to help refresh your eyes
  • get adequate sleep

 

If you find that you are experiencing tired eyes on a regular basis, we recommend that you come in to see us to identify whether there if there is an underlying problem that we can help with.

 


 

Glasses

 

7. Does wearing glasses make my eyesight worse?

No – wearing your glasses does not make your eyesight worse.

 

When you wear glasses that match your prescription, naturally you can see very well. Many people then notice that when they take their glasses off, they cannot see so well and think their vision has become worse. In actual fact, it is simply a case of them having become accustomed to seeing better.

 

If you continue to see well using the glasses that were prescribed for you, this suggests that your vision is stable.

 

It is important to note however, vision is something that tends to progressively deteriorate as we age and so it is vital to come in for a full eye examination every two years (or more frequently if you have an eye condition that requires monitoring).

 

8. Is it important to wear sunglasses?

Sunglasses protect your eyes from the harmful effects of UV exposure and glare. 

 

Protection from UV rays is important as excessive exposure can contribute to the formation of cataracts and pterygium.

 

Glare can cause problems such as headaches, squinting and make it difficult to comfortably perform tasks such as driving when facing the sun.

 

We offer a range of fashionable sunglasses that can accommodate all types of prescriptions including single vision, multifocal and bifocal. As an alternative to sunglasses, it is also possible to have photochromic lenses fitted to your regular glasses, which will change from clear to dark when exposed to sunlight.

 

9. Is it important to have coatings applied to the lenses?

When we make up your glasses, we offer two types of coatings: one is a multi coating, the other is hard coating.

 

Multi coating (or anti reflection coating) allows more of the light to come through the glasses. It helps to reduce the glare in indoor lighting and also from headlights when driving at night. 

 

Hard coatings make the lenses scratch resistant. We recommend them for all glasses as it makes them more durable and keeps them looking good for longer.

 

10. How long does it take to have my glasses made?

If you need single vision lenses, it is possible to have your glasses made in a couple of days. If you are having multifocals or bifocals, it can take between a week to ten working days to complete them.

11. Can I wear glasses while playing sport?

It will depend upon the sport you play. Some sports insist upon you wearing a particular type of sports glasses such as sports goggles.

 

We are experienced in providing you with a pair of glasses specifically designed to accommodate the requirements of your sport.

 

For example, we can create sunglasses for those who surf featuring lenses that cause any water that hits them to instantly bead and run off.

 

We have also created glasses for those who play golf which accommodates the ability to see long distance for drive shots, mid range distance from the lower part of the lens when putting, and that also enables the wearer to comfortably perform close-up tasks such as completing the score card by placing the reading part of the lens to one side.

 

Taking the time to understand the specific requirements each patient has for his or her glasses means we can tailor a personalised solution that lets them comfortably perform what they need to do.

 

As an alternative to glasses, we can also recommend a style of contact lenses that may suit your sport. We would be pleased to guide and advise you on this particular subject.

 

12. Why is there a price difference between various types of optical lenses?

You may think that optical lenses are all the same, but there are some very important differences that have a huge bearing on how clear they are, how light and comfortable they are to wear, and their durability.

 

Quality lenses are manufactured to your prescription so they are customised for your eyes. They are generally lighter in weight and more resistant to scratches and crazing compared with less expensive lenses that are usually produced in bulk.

 

Cheaper lenses may look fine to begin with, but the difference in quality tends to become apparent within a few months.

 

Our practice only uses premium quality lenses because we know that they deliver the clarity of vision and long-lasting wear that aligns with our high standards of patient care.

 


 

Contact lenses

 

13. I never liked using them in the past – have they improved much in recent years?

Yes, they’ve improved a lot. Technological advances have made them thinner and more breathable, which makes them more comfortable to wear and allows more oxygen to reach the eyes.

 

One-day lenses are very convenient and they have become quite cost effective too. Contact lenses can also accommodate multifocal prescriptions and cater to astigmatism too.

 

Disposable contact lenses are available for one day, two week and one month usage.

 

Cleaning solutions and equipment have also made caring for longer-wear contact lenses simple and fast.

 

14. I have astigmatism – can I wear contact lenses?

Yes, absolutely. Contact lenses can be made to suit those with astigmatism.

 

Lid pressure and blinking keeps the lens at the right angle in the eye.

 

They are available in the full range of disposables (1 day, 2 weeks and 1 month).

 

15. I’ve heard there are long wearing contact lenses available – how do they work?

Extended wear contact lenses are now available which can be worn continuously for up to 30 days. These contact lenses have been engineered using the latest technology to enable more oxygen to pass through the lens to the eye. This helps to make the eyes less susceptible to feeling dry and tired as was sometimes the case in contact lens wearers in the past.

 

16. Can I wash my contact lenses in tap water?

No, water contains bacteria that can introduce infections to the eye, particularly fungal infections.

 

Professional cleaning solutions contain a preservative that has disinfecting properties. They also have the same salt balance as your eyes, meaning that it is very comfortable to wear your contact lenses straight after cleaning.

 


 

Children’s vision

 

17. When should I have my child’s eyesight tested?

We recommend that you have your child’s eyes tested before they start school. Annual checks should then be performed until Year 4 to ensure your child can comfortably meet the visual tasks required of them each day.

 

It is important to be proactive about your child’s vision because it is easy for problems to go unnoticed. Many children will not necessarily realise they have a vision problem or will not speak up about it. It is essential to be on top of this because being able to see well plays a vital role in learning as well as in social and sporting settings. 

 

From Year 4 onwards, an eye examination every 2 years is usually sufficient, unless there is a condition or problem we would like to monitor more frequently.

 

18. How comfortable are the tests that are involved?

Our practice uses the latest technology in our eye examinations and our young patients find the tests very comfortable. Many even say that the tests are fun. We find that children are usually very interested in the tests and the equipment we use.

 

19. Are there exercises that can help improve my child’s vision?

The short answer is yes, there are.

 

In answering this question, it is important to make a distinction between ‘sight’ and ‘vision’. ‘Sight’ measures the clarity of the detail you can see, whereas ‘vision’ is concerned with your visual processing skills and how well you understand the meaning of what you see.

 

Glasses and contact lenses are used to improve a person’s eyesight.

 

Exercises, on the other hand, can help improve a child’s visual skills. This includes increasing the length of time they can concentrate on a task, improving how well they process what they see and the comfort of their eyes. There are a range of exercises we can teach your child to help them perform visual skills better, improve eye muscle strength and to control their vision.

 

For more information, please refer to our section on behavioural optometry.

 


 

Eye conditions

 

20. What is glaucoma?

 

Info obtained from: http://www.glaucoma.org.au/what.htm

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases that progressively destroy the optic nerve at the back of the eye, ultimately causing blindness.

 

For someone with glaucoma, damage is caused by increased pressure inside the eye arising from blockages or poor drainage. It can also occur as a result of poor blood supply to the optic nerve fibres or abnormalities in the health of the nerve fibres.

 

The effect of glaucoma is that the information that passes down the optic nerve fibres is restricted. This begins by affecting peripheral vision but can gradually progress to destroy the full range of vision in the eye.

 

More than 300,000 people in Australia suffer from glaucoma. It is possible to have early symptoms of glaucoma and not realise it, particularly if one eye is compensating for shortcomings in the other. It is not possible to reverse damage caused by glaucoma, however it is possible to slow its progress.

 

Early detection is the key and it is important to be tested for it every two years from age 40 onwards, or earlier and more frequently if you have a family history of the disease.

 

21. Are there factors that make you more at risk of developing glaucoma?

 

Factors that increase your risk of developing glaucoma include:

  • A family history of the disease
  • Suffering from diabetes
  • Having a history of migraines
  • Being short sighted or long sighted
  • Having sustained eye injuries
  • Suffering from high blood pressure
  • Past or present use of steroids

 

If you fall into one or more of these groups, it is advisable to have your first examination for glaucoma before the age of 35 and to continue to be tested yearly thereafter. For everyone else, two yearly checkups are recommended from the age of 40.

 

 

 

22. What is macular degeneration?

 

Info from

http://www.mdfoundation.com.au/reducetherisk.aspx

 

Macular degeneration progressively destroys the macula which is the central part of the retina.

 

It results in the gradual loss of central vision.

 

One in 7 people over the age of 50 have signs of macular degeneration and its incidence increases with age.

 

In its early stages, symptoms may not be obvious to the patient, however to arrest its progress, it is essential to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

 

As part of our comprehensive eye examinations for adults, we routinely test for macular degeneration.

 

23. What can I do to help prevent macular degeneration?

Evidence suggests that there are several ways you can help prevent the onset of macular degeneration. This is by:

  • consuming a diet rich in antioxidants including dark green leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, fish and nuts, and avoiding trans fats
  • not smoking
  • maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly
  • protecting your eyes from sunlight exposure, especially when young.

 

There are two types of macular degeneration: a dry form and wet form. Tablets are used to treat dry form macular degeneration and retinal injections are used in the case of wet form macular degeneration. 

 

Early detection is the best defence against its progress. We therefore include macular degeneration screening as part of our comprehensive eye examinations for all patients over the age of 40.


 

Behavioural optometry

 

24. What is behavioural optometry?

 

Info from http://www.acbo.org.au/about-us/behavioural-optometry

Behavioural optometry recognises that how well you interpret what you see does not depend solely on how clear your eyesight is.

 

It takes a holistic view of the treatment of vision and vision information processing problems, taking into account visual, visual motor and visual cognitive skills.

 

Our practice has significant expertise in the area of behavioural optometry.

 

We have helped many patients to develop and improve their visual skills, enabling them to learn more easily and/or to perform more effectively in other environments including sporting events or workplaces.  

 

Our behavioural optometry service also focuses on helping to prevent vision problems developing, and offering remediation or rehabilitation for eye problems that have developed in our patients.

 

25. What type of testing is involved in behavioural optometry?

After conducting a comprehensive eye examination with the patient, we review:

 

  • visual memory
  • visual sequencing
  • spatial relationships
  • visual capture
  • visual discrimination
  • visual closure

 

Each of these measure the effectiveness of the patient’s visual processing skills which affect how well a person can learn or perform various visual tasks.

 

Strategies that may be put in place include vision therapy programs and vision exercises to improve hand-eye co-ordination.

 

We work with children, assisting them to improve their visual skills, making it easier for them to learn and accomplish a range of other tasks such as sporting activities.

 

We also work with adults – particularly those playing sport and who need to maximise their visual co-ordination skills to compete at an elite level.

26. What types of improvements can behavioural optometry offer?

We have observed significant improvements in many of the children we treat. These observations are backed up by what the child tells us, as well as their parents.

 

Typically, the child tends to do better at school overall, not just in the classroom. They find it easier to learn, and grow in self confidence as a result. This benefits the child academically as well as socially.

 

Many children are also relieved that there was a reason why they found it hard to learn, and it isn’t something they are stuck with.

 

Parents often comment that their child has become more chatty, because behavioural therapy has enabled them to process and observe more of what’s going on around them.

 

We have also helped many elite athletes to improve their performance by working with them to fine-tune and enhance their visual skills.

 

Therapeutic course

 

27. Do all optometrists hold the therapeutic qualification?

No, an optometrist needs to complete a postgraduate degree to be qualified to provide therapeutic services.

28. What type of services does the therapeutic qualification enable you to offer?

As a therapeutic qualified optometrist, we can treat a broader range of eye conditions than other optometrists.

 

This qualification enables us to prescribe PBS medications to treat eye inflammations, eye infections, eye allergies and more. We can also treat eye trauma and remove foreign bodies from the eye as well. 

 

This makes it more convenient for our patients to be treated for a wide range of eye problems and conditions in-house.


 

Special purpose prescriptions

 

29. Can you offer glasses that are made specially to deal with the demands of different sports or workplaces?

Yes we can.

 

One of the things that sets our practice apart is our willingness to take the time to understand the unique requirements of your lifestyle and how it impacts upon your visual needs.

 

Examples of how we have been able to meet our patients’ needs include the following:

  • For cyclists, we offer a style of glasses specially designed for the requirements of this sport. These glasses feature high curvature to reduce wind resistance and they can accommodate all types of prescriptions, including multifocals.
  • For an architect who needed to review large scale plans in fine detail, we adjusted the size of the reading area on his multifocals to better reflect the scale of his work.
  • For a golfer, we designed lenses for his glasses that enabled him to see well mid distance from the bottom of his glasses which was the area of his glasses he looked through when putting. The area for reading (which would normally be at the bottom of multifocals) was instead moved to the side so that he could read and complete the score card. The top of the glasses was used for long distance viewing to accommodate the vision he needed for drive shots.
  • For a surfer who needed UV and glare protection in the many hours he spent in the surf, we were able to provide specially designed sunglasses that stay on while he is surfing, with lenses that cause any water to bead off straight away.

 

These examples are offered to illustrate our ability to customise a solution for our patients to enable them to comfortably and capably perform the visual tasks required of them.

 

We would be pleased to discuss your particular requirements with you to identify the best solution to meet your needs.

 

 

If there are any questions you have about your vision or eye health that are not answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’d be pleased to help.

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