At Specsavers Ópticas we recommend that adults have at least one eye test every two years — not only to check changes in your vision, but also the health of your eyes.
During your visit we run a series of tests that give the optometrist a full analysis of your eye health so we can offer care that best suits you and your lifestyle.
Before you come in, a few things to remember:
- If you wear glasses:
Please bring your current pair to your appointment.
- If you wear contact lenses:
Please bring your glasses, contact lenses and, if you use them, case and solution, as you’ll need to remove your lenses for the examination.
Please be mindful of local coronavirus restrictions when attending your appointment.
What happens in an eye test?
There are three main parts involved in our typical eye tests:
History and symptoms
This gives you the opportunity to discuss any concerns you have about your eyes, vision or current glasses, and whether you’re experiencing any symptoms which might need further investigation. Your optometrist will ask about your general health, medications, any past treatment on your eyes, or if there are any family members with eye conditions. All this information helps them to tailor the examination to best suit your needs.
We use a variety of tests and equipment to assess different aspects of your eye health and vision. Some are common to all eye tests – for example, the letter chart indicates how clearly you can see – while others may be used when further investigations are required, for example, to check if your eyes can see colour normally.
Some of the common tests, like the visual field test and the eye pressure test (puff of air test), can be performed by an optical assistant on behalf of the optometrist before the eye examination. These are known as pre-tests and help to make the process more efficient.
Summary and advice
Once all the relevant tests have been carried out, your optometrist will be able to discuss the results and offer any advice. This could be a simple ‘all clear’ on the eye health front, or they might talk you through particular lens options to match your prescription and lifestyle.
Treatments for any eye conditions are also discussed at this point, as well as possible referral to a specialist.
A tonometer will blow a gentle puff of air onto the surface of each eye, the air bounces back at the instrument, giving a measurement of the eye's internal pressure.
This is one of a variety of tests that allow the optometrist to assess your risk of developing glaucoma.
This machine measures the ability of your eyes to focus and can be used to assess how long- or short-sighted you are. Your optical assistant will ask you to stare into the machine through two lenses and focus on a picture. The machine will make the picture appear close and then further away and, as it does this, it calculates an estimation of your prescription with how well your eyes focus on the image.
Digital retinal photography (DRP)
The optical assistant may then take a photograph of the back of your eyes using a fundus camera. This image is saved and will be useful in monitoring changes in eye health on future visits. All of these pre-tests can be performed on separate pieces of equipment or on a single multifunctional machine.
The optometrist will check the health of your eyes and look for signs of other medical conditions. They will ask if you are experiencing any eye problems and about your general health and lifestyle. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your needs, especially if there is a specific reason for your visit, so that we can select the best management plan and/or corrective lenses for you.
Your optometrist will carry out a number of different tests using a range of specialist equipment:
Retinoscopy: The retinoscope is used to get an estimate of the ability of your eyes to focus and can be used to assess how long- or short-sighted you are. This test is usually used with children, or people with communication difficulties who can’t easily describe their vision.
While looking at the red and green light in the distance, your optometrist will shine a light in each eye. They will then place a number of different lenses in from of each eye to calculate a prescription for each eye. Read more about retinoscopy here.
Vision test: To fine-tune their findings, the optometrist will ask you to read from a Snellen test chart, that's the one with the letters that get smaller. This test measures your visual acuity, i.e. how well you can see with and without lenses in front of your eyes. This use of lenses is known as refraction and lets the optometrist know which strength prescription gives you the best vision possible.
Ophthalmoscope: The optometrist uses an ophthalmoscope to examine the retina at the back of the eye, your optic nerve and its blood vessels to make sure they are healthy. This important test can detect changes that can indicate diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
The optometrist darkens the room and sits quite close to you, while they shine a bright light into each eye using the ophthalmoscope. The light may leave shadows on your vision, but these soon fade.
Slit lamp test: The slit lamp (also known as a Volk lens) is a powerful, illuminated microscope that is used to examine the front surface of your eyes. Your optometrist will use this to check for abnormalities or scratches on your cornea, iris and lens. It is a particularly important test for contact lens wearers.
Visual field check: This test will assess your ability to detect flashes of light in your peripheral vision. Visual field tests are often used to detect early stages of glaucoma or any conditions that could be associated with headaches and other health issues.
The visual field screener will randomly flash dots of light on a black background. If you fail to see any of the dots, this can be an indication of a blind spot.
Your eye test results
At the end of your eye exam, your optometrist will give you a copy of the prescription and can answer any further questions you may have. They will then recommend the best options for you — this might be glasses, contact lenses or maybe a referral to explore any eye conditions that have shown up in your eye test. A dispenser will then help you to choose your new glasses, if they’re needed.