When was the last time that you got your eyes tested? Well for me it was probably in school and certainly not anytime in recent years. When Nicola from Colette Kelly Opticians asked me if I wanted to pop in to get to get an eye test and look around their sunglasses collection I jumped at the chance.
2016 really is the year that I am trying to get on top of all things health and fitness and get to the best version of me that I can be. Getting an eye test (and going to the dentist eugh!) were top of my list so the timing could not have been better. I was also delighted that it was a Galway Optician that was well established, well-loved and also right in Galway City Center.
First, eye tests have COMPLETELY changed than when I last got one – and it must have really been years ago as nothing was the same. Meave was my optometrist and she was just lovely. So friendly and completely put me at ease.
Since I really didn’t know what to expect Meave talked me through all the different checks that she did as she did them which was great. And at the end I even got to see photos of the inside of my eye – which by the way was both intriguing and unsettling. I thought I would share with you today what happens in 2016 in an eye test (trust me it’s not what it was 20 years ago!).
What happens when you go for an eye exam
Your optometrist will generally start by asking a number of questions to determine your complaints, history and needs. This would cover any visual complaints, visual and medical history, family eye history and lifestyle among other information. This was quite detailed but didn’t feel invasive either. They then will measure what they call the visual acuity to see if any glasses are needed and find out the prescription and also check all of the health of the eye.
Firstly they ask a series of questions to determine if you were having any problems – blurring/headaches etc., if there were any eye problems in the family that we should be aware of and if you had any previous eye issues.
They also asked if you were on any medications as some medications can affect the eyes. Also asked was if I drove a lot or used computers a lot to get a better idea of what needs may arise due to your lifestyle.
This is to test how sharp your vision is – by showing you a letter chart and determining what was the lowest line you could read without glasses. This is no longer a wall chart – but a reflection of a computer screen where Maeve could rearrange the letters etc. so it was much more interactive than it used to be. Also, if you learned off the chart when you were younger that wouldn’t work 🙂
The Cover Test
She then carried out a cover test. This checks the muscles of the eyes and their reactions. She moved a cover from one eye to the other, observing the eyes to see if there was any squint/turn in the eye present. It was quite interesting as when you changed from one eye to the other it took a few minutes to adjust.
To determine the prescription Maeve first used a machine called an auto-refractor. This machine takes a quick scan of the eyes to give an estimate of the prescription. This gives them a starting point to work from. There was a small picture of a barn on front of me and Maeve then adjusted the lens and it got clearer or more blurry depending on the lens.
To determine the exact prescription is called a refraction and to do so she used a device called a phoropter. This is a mask- like device which has wheels of different lenses. She used this to show a series of lens choices to determine which lens was clearer for me.
During the refraction she used a computerized letter chart to show you letters. She also showed me some dots for some lens choices which allowed her to determine if you had any astigmatism. The circles either got more round or more square depending on what she adjusted. Astigmatism means the eye isn’t perfectly round but more like a rugby ball in shape- many people have some degree of astigmatism which if uncorrected can give some distortion. But luckily my eyes are round!
Eye Health Check
To check the health of the eye she first checked the pressure in the eyes. This is the main test to screen for glaucoma.
To do this she used a machine called a non-contact tonometer – most people know it as the puff of air test from FRIENDS! This machine blows a little puff of air into each eye. This calculates the pressure in the eye based on your eye’s resistance to the puff of air. With this test we’re checking that the pressure isn’t too high. I’ll be honest I was a disaster with this one 🙂 I kept pre-empting the puff and kept blinking but we got there in the end – and honestly NOT a big deal!!! 🙂
Next we examined the back of the eye using a device called an ophthalmoscope (don’t I sound fancy!). This is a light used to look through the pupil into the back of the eye. This allows your optometrist to check all of the health of the eye by examining the different parts such as the nerve, macula, blood vessels and retina. It also allows them to see if there are any signs in the eye of systemic problems e.g high blood pressure or diabetes.
You get the results immediately after your exam which is great and good news – that there were no signs in the veins in my eyes of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. It was honestly amazing to me how much she could tell just by looking inside my eyes.
And the end eye test result – well I am slightly short sighted in my right eye but it is so slight that I don’t need glasses and since my eyes are working well in sync to each other I am grand and just need to go back in two years for a check-up! I was delighted with the results and certainly something that I will be doing every two years from now on – it was easy, painless and didn’t take long. Everyone should be able spare a half hour to get their eye sight checked every two years – just miss one episode of The Big Bang Theory and you’re done!
Colette Kelly Optometry have such a wide selection of glasses and sunglasses in stock and trust me before if someone had ever said to me you might need glasses I would have dreaded it and thought I would look awful with glasses – but if I do end up needing them in a few years, I know I won’t be dreading them. There are SO many types of glasses out there and I am looking forward to sharing these with you.
The staff in Colette Kelly also really know their stuff – everyone I spoke to knew so much! Meave answered my endless questions from all the different parts of the actual eye test to my questions on polarised sunglasses and the different types of metal frames! Such a welcoming team in there and I could not recommend them enough. Certainly check out their website and they are also on Facebook and Twitter and if you are debating an eye test – just go in and do it xx
This was a not paid for collaboration with Colette Kelly Opticians but they did provide me with an eye test.