There are many reasons why you may need an eye test. Here are a few common reasons.
ROUTINE EYE CHECK UP
Your eyesight is the most important of your senses. We use our eyes in every moment of our waking hours so it makes good sense to have your eyes checked regularly to ensure you're seeing your best and that your eyes are healthy.
We recommend having your eyes tested at least every 2 years, whether or not you wear glasses, and sooner if you noticed any new issues with your eyes or eyesight since your last visit. Children should be tested annually from the age of 3 as their eyesight can often change more rapidly and they may have vision issues that they are unaware of. Early detection of myopia (short-sightedness) in children gives us the best chance of preventing their eyes from worsening.
As we age, our eyes weaken. Not only do we have more difficult focusing, especially on near objects, but our eye health can also deteriorate. Cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eye and eye floaters are conditions that can commonly occur with age. Some eye changes are slow and may not be noticeable from day to day, but if left undetected can lead to permanent loss of vision.
If you're over the age of 60, it's a good idea to have your eyes checked every year, even if you haven't noticed any eyesight changes. Prevention is better than cure.
Optometrists diagnose and manage blurred vision everyday. Most causes of blurred vision are correctable with glasses and/or contact lenses — these include myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness), astigmatism (irregular eye shape) and presbyopia (difficulty focusing with age). These conditions are known as refractive errors. We will give you proper advice on what are the best ways of correcting your blurred vision issues.
There are also causes of blurred vision that are not correctable with a new glasses prescription — these may be related to the health of your eyes and can be serious. If you have experienced any blurred vision we recommend having an eye test as soon as possible.
HARDER TO READ UP CLOSE
Reading and tasks that involve focusing up close — such as using your phone, threading a needle or fine detailed work — will tend to become harder after the age of 45 in most people. This is called presbyopia and is related to your eye's natural lens becoming less elastic and less able to adjust focus. People who are naturally long-sighted (hyperopic) can often have near focusing difficulties earlier.
Many people buy simple ready-made reading glasses or magnifiers when this happens. While these may work as a temporary solution, you should have your eyes tested to determine if a properly-prescribed pair of reading glasses may be more suitable for your eyes and your visual needs. Chemist readers in some cases can cause eye strain and imbalance between the two eyes.
EYE STRAIN & HEADACHES
If you experience eyestrain symptoms and headaches, you may have eye focusing issues. People who have hyperopia (long-sightedness) are more prone to eyestrain when reading and using a computer, as their eyes are continually focusing harder and the eye focusing muscles become overworked. An eye condition called astigmatism is very common and can result in eyestrain if undiagnosed. Wearing glasses that may be prescribed incorrectly or are no longer appropriate for your eyes can also cause these symptoms.
RED, PINK & ITCHY EYES
A therapeutically-endorsed optometrist, as a primary-level health care practitioner, is the right person to see first if you have a red eye condition. Optometrists are equipped with instruments to check the surface of your eyes to diagnose the cause of your red eye, which may be a case of conjunctivitis, viral infection, eye allergy, dry eyes, inflammation, or other potentially more serious issues. Our optometrist is qualified in ocular therapeutics to prescribe medical treatments for most red eye conditions.
SORE EYES & EYE PAIN
A common cause of sore eyes is dry eyes, which occurs if the tear film layer on the eye is insufficient to continually lubricate the eye surface. We have special technology to evaluate the quality of your tear film to assess for dry eyes, and we can also prescribe treatments for dry eyes. Other causes of sore eyes may be a foreign body in the eye, ingrown lashes, eye infection or eye inflammation. Eye pain can be serious and should be evaluated as soon as possible.
It is not normal to experience double vision. If you have noticed any kind of double vision, particular if it is a new occurrence for you, you should see an optometrist immediately. Recent onset of double vision may be related to a weakness or imbalance in your eye muscles, the nerves that control the eye muscles, or a deeper neurological cause.
EYE FLOATERS & FLASHES
Eye floaters are tiny grey dots, strings or cobwebs that drift about in your vision as your eyes move. They tend to be more noticeable against a light background, such as the sky or a brightly lit computer screen. Floaters are not uncommon, most people will have a few if they look for them and they tend to occur more with age.
However, if you notice a sudden increase in floaters, or have noticed some momentary flashes of light in your vision or shadows in your peripheral vision, see an eye care professional immediately. These symptoms may be related to a serious eye emergency such as retinal tear or retinal detachment. People with high degrees of short-sightedness (myopia) are at higher risk.
DISTORTION, HALOS & AURAS
These symptoms can be associated with migraines or other eye conditions. If you are experiencing these symptoms for the first time, a comprehensive eye examination is highly recommended. We can also assess your peripheral vision to diagnose any issues involving the visual pathway. Migraines can sometimes also be triggered by eye focusing issues.
Many eye conditions and eye diseases have genetic basis. In children, short-sightedness, long-sightedness and lazy eyes can be hereditary — if you have one of these eye conditions your children should have their first eye test at a younger age (before 3) and be more closely monitored for eyesight changes. In adults, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment are known to run in families and we recommend yearly check ups if there is a family history of eye diseases.
General health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension can cause changes within your eyes. We recommend yearly diabetic eye tests for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes to monitor for potential diabetic retinopathy. Many prescription medications also can cause side effects on the eyes. Your medical doctor may advise you to have more frequent eye test if you have been prescribed medications such as Plaquenil, for rheumatoid arthritis, and corticosteroids.
RENEW DRIVER'S LICENCE
You may have received a letter from VicRoads prompting you to have an eyesight and eye health test to renew your driver's licence for a medical reason. We can assess your eyes in relation to the standards for driving and complete the VicRoads Eyesight Report for you. Our practice is equipped with a certified visual field analyser compatible with VicRoad's requirement for a driving visual field test.