• If you’ve ever had concerns about your eye health, need glasses, or been worried about sore, dry, swollen or red eyes, an optometrist is the healthcare professional who can help by providing you with an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.

  • The word optometrist is derived from the Greek word ophthalmos, which translates to eye. As such, optometrists are the frontline leaders of primary eye and vision care. Optometrists assess, diagnose, treat and manage disorders and diseases of the eye, but they also play a significant role in supporting patients’ overall health and well-being by recognising and treating a range of other physical conditions through comprehensive eye exams and navigating patients in their next steps. When it comes to our eye health, there are usually many questions about what a diagnosis means for a person’s life and future risk, and your optometrist takes the time to go through all of this information carefully.

  • So what exactly does an optometrist do, what conditions can they treat, and when should you see an optometrist examine your vision and eye health? Today we’re explaining exactly why a qualified optometrist is essential to maintaining your eye health and how our friendly team at The Optical Co can help you get started.


How Does An Optometrist Help You?

  • An optometrist’s job consists of a range of tasks to support your overall eye health, which includes:

  • - Providing vision tests and comprehensive eye exams using a range of techniques and technologies

  • - Correcting blurry vision and refractive errors by prescribing and fitting contact lenses, frames and customised lenses

  • - Detecting and monitoring how other health conditions may be contributing to certain eye conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy

  • - Diagnosing, treating and managing many eye concerns, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, conjunctivitis, digital eye strain,

  • - Providing vision therapy, low-vision aids, and long-term continuity of care throughout your eye health journey

  • More than this, your optometrists are your supporters throughout any changes and help ensure that you’re getting the best care at every step - including the right referrals if a vision exam detects something unexpected.


Conditions Treated By Optometrists

  • As well as detecting and diagnosing eye abnormalities and diseases, optometrists are also highly qualified to provide effective treatment and management strategies for many medical eye conditions, such as:

  • - Refractive errors: which make objects appear blurry such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (blurry vision for both near and far), presbyopia (mature vision), and amblyopia (lazy eye)

  • - Glaucoma: a disease that damages the optic nerve that sends signals from the eye to the brain

  • - Age-related macular degeneration: which occurs due to ageing, causing the light-sensitive tissue in your eyes to break down over time

  • - Cataracts: located within the lens of your eye, which lead to gradual cloudiness and loss of vision

  • - Diabetic retinopathy: which occurs as a complication of diabetes, damaging the blood vessels in the back of the eye

  • - UV damage: much like our skin, the cells in our eyes can be easily damaged by the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation

  • - Dry eyes: this can happen when your eyes either don’t make enough tears or when your eyes don’t make high-quality tears to keep your eyes nourished and moisturised

  • - Colour vision deficiency: also known as colour blindness, those affected see colours differently than most others, though they may not know it.

  • - Conjunctivitis: often referred to as pink eye, can be triggered by allergens such as animals or pollen, bacteria, or viruses, causing swelling, redness, itchiness and pain


When Should I See An Optometrist?

  • Even if you have no eye diseases or concerning symptoms, comprehensive eye examinations with a registered optometrist are recommended every two years here in Australia [1] and every year if you’re over 65.

  • Up to 90% of all vision loss is preventable, however for many people, changes to their vision or symptoms of disease occur so slowly over time it’s not immediately noticeable - and you don’t realise that you need optical care or that your eyesight isn’t as good as it could be or used to be.

  • There are also many eye diseases that have few or no early symptoms and can develop at any age. This is why we recommend having regular eye health checks with a team of experienced optometrists, who use their comprehensive knowledge paired with digital tools to help track subtle changes in your eyes over time, and pick up on any concerns as soon as they arise, so you can start your treatment and management plan as soon as possible.

  • If you’re already experiencing any disturbances or changes in your vision, an appointment should be made promptly, especially if you notice:

  • - Eye pain

  • - Blurred or double vision

  • - Circles that look like halos around lights

  • - Red, irritated eyes

  • - Floaters, or specks that float before your eyes

  • - Flashes of light

  • We also recommend booking frequent appointments with an optometrist who can monitor the health of your eyes over time if you have certain risk factors, such as:

  • - A family history of eye disease

  • - An occupation that is visually demanding or hazardous to the eyes

  • - Reduced vision in one eye

  • - Wearing contact lenses

  • - Previous eye surgery or injury


What To Expect At Your Optometrist Appointment

  • In a comprehensive eye exam like those provided at The Optical Co, your eye care professional uses a gentle approach combined with innovative medical technology, including Digital Retinal Photography and Optical Coherence Tomography scans, to go beyond simply assessing eyesight and help to identify diseases and conditions as early as possible. Your comprehensive exam may include:

  • - Going through your personal and family health history, detailing when your symptoms began, medications you’re taking, work and environmental factors, and more

  • - Visual acuity measurements using reading charts to assess precisely how each eye can see

  • - Tests of your eye health which may include depth perception, colour vision, peripheral (side) vision and how your pupils respond to light

  • - Assessments to measure which power of lens you require to correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism

  • - Eye focusing, eye teaming and eye movement activities to examine how well your eyes focus, move and work together

  • - Eye health examination using a range of technologies to detect underlying conditions

  • After your exam is completed, your optometrist will be able to discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan options with you to protect your eye health, best correct your eyesight, and help give you the freedom to do the things you love.

  • At The Optical Co, our friendly optometrists offer targeted care for various conditions. Every treatment plan is designed uniquely for your needs and preferences to help optimise your quality of life. Our optometrist can refer you to an ophthalmologist or eye doctor specialising in surgery for more complex treatment.


Don’t delay treatment. Get your eyes checked today. Contact one of your local clinics to book your comprehensive eye exam with one of our experienced team members.


[1] https://www.visionaustralia.org/information/eye-health/eye-care