Home Eye Examinations
WHAT TO EXPECT
Do I need an eye test?
Regular eye examinations are important for everyone. If you spend a lot of your time at home, with mostly visual entertainment such as reading or watching television, maintaining proper eye health is arguably more important.
If you feel your vision hasn't changed since your last eye test, then that's great, and it's a good idea to make sure the eyes are still healthy - many ocular conditions have no noticeable symptoms until it's too late. If you've been told that nothing more can be done to improve your sight, then regular eye exams are the best way to maintain what vision you do have.
It's always worth taking an hour or so, normally every year, to make sure that your vision is at its best and that your eyes are healthy.
How much does it cost?
If you would normally claim an NHS-funded test in practice (for example, if you're over sixty) and are unable to get out to an optician without assistance for some medical reason, then the NHS will contribute towards the cost of us travelling to see you and the examination itself.
The overwhelming majority of our patients are entitled to NHS help with their examination costs (check NHS entitlements here), but if you think you don't, we are able to give full private travel and examination prices - please ask.
Our full examination includes (amongst other things) retinal photography, mandatory dilation, and tear film assessment, and gives us the best overall view of the health of your eyes. This gives us the best opportunity to offer advice is only £40 with an NHS contribution. We would always recommend the full examination, but if you’d prefer we stick to a simpler examination that can be completely covered by the NHS fee, then we can do that too.
What do we need?
We can test eyes in rooms of most sizes and shapes, and most often test where you're most comfortable. If you're normally in bed, then that's fine too. We bring all of the testing equipment we need, so don't need too much else, but access to a power socket is very useful. A small chair or two aren't essential to have in the room, but are handy if available. Each eye examination is individual, so it's difficult to give a precise length of time, but allow an hour or so for your test.
Health checks on the eyes
Our optometrist will perform general health checks on your eyes. He will check the pressures in your eyes (similar to the 'air-puff' test, but with no puff of air) and assess the tissues surrounding your eyes, such as your eyelids. This will involve shining the light of an optical microscope onto each eye in turn, but isn't uncomfortable. These checks also help to assess tear quality and possible related dry eye issues.
The refraction is the part of an eye examination that assesses your sight and any prescription. Our optometrist will use a variety of tests to measure the prescription that offers you the best vision, as well as recording how well you see, for both near and far distances. These tests can be done using standard letters, numbers, or symbols. He will also check how the two eyes work together, checking for any movement imbalances or signs of double vision.
Ophthalmoscopy is an important part of the examination, where our optometrist will look inside each eye to assess the health of various internal structures. This will include looking for signs of conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. To make it possible for a good, thorough look at as much of the eye as possible, we can dilate your pupils with an eye drop. This has no long-term effects, but will normally leave your vision slightly blurry for a few hours following the test. Ophthalmoscopy involves shining a bright light into your eyes and while this isn't normally uncomfortable, you'll be able to have a break midway through if you need to. We can also take photographs of the back of your eye, to give a better record of changes to your eye over time.
If we find a different spectacle prescription from what you're currently wearing, enough to improve your vision, and you choose to update your spectacles, then we offer a full dispensing service. Our dispensing optician will interpret your new prescription and help you decide on the best way to correct your vision. We can dispense any of the usual lenses you may be familiar with from a visit to an optician's practice, including single vision, bifocal and varifocal lenses with hard coatings, tints, or photochromic materials (for example) worked in. We have frame and lens options to suit most budgets and if you'd normally claim help from the NHS towards paying for your spectacles, we can arrange that too.
Following your eye examination, it may be necessary to refer you to an eye specialist. This may be for a routine matter, such as a cataract extraction, or possibly for something that needs more urgent attention. In either case, we will keep you fully informed and will make sure you, or a friend or family member, know exactly what to expect in the referral process.