How your eye works
Your eye works like a camera. The front of your eye, the cornea, iris, pupil, and lens focus the image onto your retina, which lines the inside of your eye. The retina is sensitive to light and acts like the film in a camera, capturing images and then sending them via the optic nerve to your brain where the images are interpreted.
Seeing the images clearly
There are two factors at work in seeing clearly. The first is proper focus. Just like a camera your eye needs to be focussed properly to send clear images to your brain. The second is healthy eye tissue. Any damage or disease to the cells within your eye has the potential to remove your ability to see fully – sometimes damage can be permanent.
Early detection prevents serious eye damage
If you have any problems with your eyes or with seeing clearly then you need to see an optometrist.
Any change in vision should be checked, It may be normal, or it could be the result of a more serious condition. Changes in vision could be related to vascular, neurological, or other medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Eye exams and vision screening
Vision screening (or sight testing) will only tell you if you would benefit from glasses. Vision Screening will not tell if your eyes are healthy. Not being able to see well is the most common sign of eye problems including eye disease that can cause blindness. This is why it is always necessary for an optometrist to examine your eyes thoroughly to make a diagnosis before prescribing treatment.
A comprehensive eye exam will measure any refractive error that you have and will also investigate for signs of eye diseases that have the potential to make you blind.
You can tell you are having a comprehensive eye exam if it includes assessment of:
- Medical history
- Slit-lamp examination
- External eye
- Internal eye
- Visual fields
- Subjective refraction
- Eye muscles
- Colour perception
- Peripheral fundus
- Macular health
It takes a while so you should expect to be in the chair for at least 30 minutes and maybe more. For more people that news will be that they have great eye health. Only around 60% of people examined will need to be prescribed glasses or contact lenses for refractive error.
Refractive error is the term used to describe poor focus. It may be caused by the shape of the eye and is resolved by applying a prescription lens in front of the eye to ensure a clear image reaches the retina. There are a number of specific refractive problems which cause poor vision including myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism.