the eye blog
EYE CARE INFO & UPDATES
A pleasant young man was recommended by his mother to come for an eye check up with us recently. He had been seen within the last 3 years by another optometrist and has only a mild distance vision problem that he uses glasses for.
The reason for his eye test was his concerns about some lid bumps and styes that he had seen his GP about several months ago but had still not been resolved with antibiotics that he was prescribed with. He had not noticed any vision changes and was still happy with his current glasses for driving.
A comprehensive eye examination was carried out in our clinic, checking his vision, glasses prescription, thoroughly examining the front of his eyes in regards to the lid lumps and also a general eye health check. What was an entirely unexpected finding — and completely unrelated to his presenting issue — was his high eye pressures and potential changes to his optic nerves, indicative of early glaucoma. A visual field test — examining his peripheral (side) vision, which is implicated in glaucoma — thankfully did not detect any vision loss.
He was promptly referred to a local ophthalmologist (eye specialist) who confirmed the glaucoma diagnosis and was treated with pressure-lowering glaucoma eye drops. By reducing his eye pressures to a lower and safer level, the risk of further long-term optic nerve damage and associated loss of peripheral vision is reduced. We will continue to monitor his eye health, eye pressures and vision for changes.
What this case highlights is the importance of regular comprehensive eye tests for all. Everyone should be tested at least every 2 years regardless of whether one feels there is any change in eyesight or wears glasses or not. People over the age of 60, or has a family history of eye disease or additional general health risk factors such as diabetes, should be tested annually.
Many eye conditions can develop without necessarily causing vision symptoms. For this young man — only in his early 40s (much younger than a typical glaucoma patient) — it was fortunate, in a sense, that because of his eyelid bumps that he came to see us for an eye examination. Otherwise he may not have had another eye check up for some time, and his high eye pressures could have led to some losses in his peripheral vision by that time.
Eye care is much more than about glasses. If you haven't had your eyes checked for a while, book a comprehensive eye examination to ensure your eyes are healthy. And if you have any eye related concerns, see your friendly local optometrist right away — while GPs are fantastic at what they do for your general health, an optometrist is better placed to look at your eyes with our advanced eye diagnostic equipment.
Comprehensive eye health checks here at Eyecare Concepts are bulk billed, so there are no out of pocket costs to you. Early detection is key to preventing vision loss.
Case study published with patient's consent.
YOUR LOCAL EYE HEALTH EXPERT — KEW EAST, MELBOURNE
How much to get my eyes tested?
At Eyecare Concepts, we believe in providing the highest standards of professional eye care to everyone. That's why we have chosen to provide Medicare bulk billed eye tests for all patients. That means if you have a valid Medicare card, having a standard comprehensive eye test with us won't cost you anything out of pocket.
What about the 1 eye test every 3 years rule?
This is a common question and area of some confusion among patients. Several years ago the government introduced Medicare changes to rebate the full cost of a comprehensive eye test every 3 years (instead of every 2 years). What this means is Medicare pays the eye care practitioner a lesser fee if a patient has another eye test within the 3 year period, if the patient has no vision changes or new signs or symptoms. Some practices introduced private patient fees to cover the fee gap.
It does not mean you should wait the full 3 years before having another eye test. We believe 3 years is far too long between eye tests, especially for children whose eyesight can change rapidly, and people over 60 who have a higher risk of developing eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration.
Medicare will always pay the cost of an eye test when there is a clinical basis for the test — if you have noticed a change in your vision, if your glasses aren't working as effectively, if you have noticed any new symptoms at all (red eyes, sore eyes, halos, floaters, light flashes, headaches, visual disturbance, etc), or you have a recurrent or progressive eye condition or general health condition that can affect your sight — then you should have your eyes checked based on your need, regardless of when your last eye test was.
Our eye test recommendations.
These are our general recommendations for frequency of eye tests:
· Age 3 to 20 — every year, or every 6 months if has noted progressive changes.
· Age 21-60 — at least every 2 years, more often if has vision changes or concerns.
· Age 40+ with family history of eye disease — every year.
· Age 60+ — every year.
· Contact lens wearers — every year.
· Diabetes — every year for a dilated eye examination.
* These are general guidelines and may vary depending on an individual's eye care needs.
All standard eye tests at our practice are bulk billed when a clinical need exists.
How long does an eye test take?
At Eyecare Concepts, your eye care is always our number one priority. Unlike many mainstream optical shops that provide only 15-20 minutes (Medicare's minimum standard) of consultation time with the optometrist, we allocate at least 30 minutes for each comprehensive eye test, and 40 minutes for younger children, elderly patients and more complex cases.
We spend more time with you to ensure every eye check is thorough and that we always provide you with the best, personalised eye care. And you, our valued client, can relax and not feel rushed. Quality of care is what we are known for.
What tests are not covered by Medicare?
Some types of eye tests are not covered by Medicare. Examples are contact lens fitting, tuition and aftercare consultations for a patient with a mild prescription (less than +5D of long-sightedness, -5D of short-sightedness or -3D of astigmatism). Where fees may be charged, we will discuss the costs with you prior to the consultation.
Eye test cost without Medicare?
For patients without Medicare, the cost of a comprehensive eye examination with us is $67. If you are an overseas student with health insurance cover (OSHC), you can usually claim a rebate for the eye test fee through your health insurance provider.
A therapeutic optometrist differs from your regular optometrist who provides eye examination and prescribes vision corrective lenses. A therapeutic optometrist has undertaken additional training and study in the diagnosis and management of eye diseases, in ocular pharmacology, and in the treatment of eye conditions with Schedule 4 prescription-only medicines.
Apart from regular eye tests for glasses and contact lenses and general eye health examination, a therapeutic optometrist is qualified to diagnose and initiate treatment for glaucoma (in co-management with an ophthalmologist), prescribe antibiotics and antiviral eye drops for eye infections and ulcers, medications to treat eye redness, inflammation, eye allergies, dry eye and contact lens-related infections, remove corneal foreign bodies, and use eye drops to help treat children with amblyopia (lazy eye). Most treatments prescribed by a therapeutic optometrist are available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
A therapeutic optometrist can do all the things a regular optometrist can do, plus a lot more.
Ocular therapeutics has been part of an optometrist's training since the mid-2000s, and currently about 6 out of 10 optometrists in Victoria are therapeutic optometrists. The previous generations of optometrists are able to upgrade their qualifications to become endorsed in therapeutics by undertaking further post-graduate training, if they wish to.
In addition, therapeutic optometrists are required to stay up-to-date with the latest in medical treatments in eye care with mandatory therapeutic-specific continuing education. This ensures that patients receive the best possible care and treatment for their eye conditions.
Is your optometrist therapeutically endorsed?
To find out whether an optometrist is endorsed in ocular therapeutics, you can search for the optometrist's credentials via the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA):
A therapeutic optometrist will have the following endorsement listed:
A regular, non-therapeutic optometrist will show the following notation:
For the best optometric care in relation to eye health and management of eye diseases, choose a therapeutic optometrist for your next eye test.
Eyecare Concepts optometrists are endorsed in ocular therapeutics.
EYECARE CONCEPTS — THERAPEUTIC OPTOMETRIST — KEW EAST, MELBOURNE
Has your child just started school or is about to start school? Have they recently had a school vision screening test that flagged potential areas of concern about their eyesight?
This is a good time to bring your child to see an optometrist for a comprehensive eyesight and eye health assessment. This will ensure your child has optimum vision for reading, learning and participating in all their school activities. Many children are unaware of blur, focusing difficulties or changes in their eyesight, and as many as 1 in 5 kids have undetected vision issues that can affect their learning and attention span.
A detailed baseline eye test by the age of 5 is recommended even a child appears to have no eyesight-related symptoms or has passed a basic screening test by the school nurse. A child's eyesight can often change quickly as they grow and our baseline findings can help us predict potential changes before they occur.
As a leading children's optometrist in the Kew, Kew East and Balwyn North area, we will thoroughly assess your child's eyesight and visual functions in readiness for them to start their primary schooling. Our spacious, full size consulting room was designed with kids in mind to make their eye test a fun and enjoyable one. With 40 minutes allocated for each consultation (compared to just 15-20 minutes at a typical retail optical store) it means we have time to do more tests and your child can relax and won't feel rushed.
Our comprehensive children's eye test includes:
· Sight test (letter chart and children's eye test chart are available).
· Detection of any focusing issues (long-sightedness, short-sightedness, astigmatism).
· Eye movement and eye tracking.
· Binocular vision testing to check that both eyes are working well together as a team.
· Stereo acuity (ability to see 3D).
· Colour vision testing.
· Eye health examination including digital retinal imaging.
· A written report will be provided to you and your child's school.
Ensure your child is ready for school - book a bulk billed eye test today.
Eyecare Concepts Optometry — Family & Children's Optometrist in Kew East.
Philip Cheng - B.Optom (Melb) Ocular Therapeutics (GCOT). Optometrist at Eyecare Concepts Kew East, Melbourne. An experienced eye care & contact lens practitioner with expertise in myopia control & orthokeratology.