Here at The Optical Co, we take extreme care and diligence with our eye exams to ensure you get the best care and service and so that we can help identify any problems with your vision or eye health early so that you get the best long-term results.

We classify all of our annual (regular) eye exams as ‘comprehensive’ eye exams, even when they are bulk billed, given the expertise and skill of our eye care professionals that go above and beyond to give you detailed and extensive results, paired with the advanced assessment methods and medical technology we use in-house such as digital retinal photography and optical coherence tomography scans.

We understand how unnerving it can feel to experience a disturbance or problem with your eyes and vision, so after each assessment, we ensure to take the time and care to explain your findings carefully, answer all of your questions, and leave you feeling confident about the best approach to treatment and the outcomes you can expect. Here’s an overview of our eye test process and the signs that it may be time to book your next eye test.

Comprehensive Eye Tests: The Process

While there may be several ‘standard’ steps in an eye examination, your assessment with us will be tailored based on your medical history, the information you give us, and some of your preliminary findings. We always personalise your care and provide timely and specific advice to help you get the best outcomes for your eye health. Generally, you can expect:

Your history
Typically we start by going through your personal and family health and medical history, which includes detailing when your symptoms began (if you’re experiencing any), medications you’re taking, work and environmental factors, and more.

Visual acuity testing
Next, we’ll perform visual acuity testing using a reading chart to assess exactly how clearly and sharply each eye can see at various distances. You may be asked to read out the letters or numbers you can see from a specific distance. Each eye is tested separately.

Refraction testing
Refraction assessments work to measure which lens powers you require to correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism. Hence, you know the best-suited eyewear or contact lens prescription for you. This typically includes using a device called a phoropter, which consists of many lenses, cylinders and prisms, with you providing feedback to your eye care professional as to which circumstances help you to see the clearest.

Binocular vision assessment
We also want to know how well your eyes focus, move and work together so we can review this by asking you to perform eye movement activities. This helps us get a better idea of your eye alignment too. We may also add extra tests, such as the cover test, in which each eye is covered while you focus on an object, and the optometrist observes how your eyes react.

We may also test other aspects of your eye health and vision, such as your depth perception, colour vision, peripheral (side) vision and how your pupils respond to light.

Retinal photography
Retinal photography is a quick and painless way for optometrists to look inside your eye and track changes to your eye health and vision. We use a fundus camera to take high-resolution, coloured 2D images to examine your retina - the tissue lining the back of your eye. These images are saved electronically to allow us to keep track of any changes in your eye health over time. In future visits, they can pick up on many eye concerns even before you have any noticeable symptoms. We may perform optical coherence tomography to produce detailed 3D images instead as an alternative to retinal photography.

Ocular health assessment
A very important part of your assessment is checking the health of your eyes and looking for any potential issues. This may involve using various instruments (often guided by your preliminary results), such as a slit lamp biomicroscope, to examine the front structures of your eyes, including the cornea, iris, and lens. Your eye care professional may also dilate your pupils using eye drops to examine better the back of your eyes, including the retina and optic nerve.

Additional testing
Based on our findings and your circumstances, we may perform additional testing such as intraocular pressure as a way of screening for glaucoma or optical coherence tomography to get detailed 3D images of the optic nerve and retina to look for any abnormalities.

Results discussion
After your exam is completed, your eye care professional will be able to discuss any diagnoses or issues that have been identified, along with treatment or management plan options to protect your eye health. This can range from simply advising monitoring and changes to your daily habits (such as shifting your computer screen away from your eyes) to fitting you with custom prescription glasses or contact lenses to correct your eyesight best. If a significant concern is found, such as if you have signs of an underlying eye disease or other problems, we can also refer you to an ophthalmologist for further testing and care.

As with any of our services, you’ll have plenty of time to ask any questions and discuss any concerns about the future of your vision or eye health.

Signs That It May Be Time To Book In For Your Next Eye Test

Even if you have no eye diseases or risk factors, examinations with a registered eye care practitioner are recommended every two years here in Australia and every year if you’re over 65. If you’re experiencing any disturbances or changes in your vision, this test should be conducted urgently. Other signs that it may be time to book in for your next eye test include:

Difficulty reading or working on screens: if you find it challenging to read books, newspapers, or digital screens, or if you experience eye strain, headaches, or fatigue after prolonged screen use, it may be a sign that your vision needs to be evaluated. This could be due to a need for corrective lenses or a condition like presbyopia (age-related difficulty focusing up close).

Squinting or struggling to see distant objects: if you have trouble seeing distant objects, experience frequent squinting, or have difficulty recognising faces from a distance, it could indicate a refractive error, such as nearsightedness (myopia) or astigmatism. An eye exam can determine the appropriate prescription to address these issues.

Eye discomfort or redness: persistent eye redness, itchiness, dryness, or discomfort can be signs of various eye conditions, including allergies, dry eye syndrome, or an eye infection. An optometrist can examine your eyes, identify the underlying cause, and provide appropriate treatment or management options.

Family members developing eye problems: if your immediate family members have recently developed eye diseases or conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration, or cataracts, it's advised to have regular eye exams and to let your eye care professional be aware of this information so they can have a close look at your eye health. Some eye conditions have a genetic component and may require early detection and intervention for effective management.

Recent eye injuries: if you've recently had an eye injury, an up-to-date eye exam can help monitor the health and function of your eyes. These exams can detect any complications or long-term effects requiring further intervention.

Ready to book your comprehensive eye exam with one of our leading eye care professionals? Contact an Optical Co clinic near you here.