Do you need an eyesight test?

What is an eyesight test?

Eyesight plays such an important role in daily life, from reading to driving to browsing the web, so protecting your eyes is vital. Making regular appointments with an optometrist ensures you stay on track with your eye health.

There are a number of eyesight tests (or eye exams) that can be performed. Let's take a closer look!

The visual acuity test (performed with the 'Big E' or 'Snellen' chart, like in the image below) is the most common – this is the one where you sit in a chair and read letters from a chart that is a small distance away, the letters start off really big and reduce in size as they near the bottom. The optometrist will run this test on each eye by covering the other eye. This test helps to determine how each eye’s level of vision compares to the standard 20/20 complete vision.

 

 Snellen Chart

Another eyesight test performed is a retinoscopy – this allows the optometrist to ensure a correct lens prescription for your glasses or contacts. As you focus on an object, the optometrist will shine a light into your eyes and conclude how it affects the way your eyes process the light. This test shouldn't cause any pain, so let your optometrist know if you experience any discomfort.

A refraction test is another common test undertaken. This test also helps the optometrist to access your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription – the optometrist will put a device in front of your eyes and replace the lenses to be stronger or weaker, depending on your answer when they ask ‘Is it clearer with lens 1 or 2?’. Don't worry, there is no right or wrong answer here! This test will help determine if you are nearsighted (can see items clearly up close but not far), farsighted (can see things clear from afar but are blurry when brought closer) or have astigmatism (which is when the abnormal curvature of the eye creates two focal points to point in two separate locations.)

Knowing what happens in our peripheral vision is just as important as knowing what happens inside the eye, which is why a peripheral visual field test is carried out. There are a few ways this eye test can be carried out; automated perimetry, tangent screen exam or a confrontation visual field exam. Your optometrist will decide which test to use.

 

When should I get an eyesight test done?

In general, regular eyesight tests should be done at least every 2 years. However, this depends on factors including age, current health and any predetermined risks of developing eye problems. Frequent testing is highly recommended for those with medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or neurological conditions. Specialists also recommend getting eyesight tests done more frequently if you already wear glasses or contact lenses, have a family history of eye disease or loss of vision, or take any medications that may have eye-related side effects. If you notice a change in your eyesight, you should get an eyesight test performed, even if it’s before the recommended 2-year time frame.

The same applies for children, eye tests every couple of years are recommended, but if your child complains of vision problems or you suspect your child cannot see well, make an appointment for them straight away.

 

What should I expect from an eyesight test?

An eyesight test is nothing to be afraid of and should not be painful.  The optometrist will start off by asking about your medical history, family history and about any vision problems you may be experiencing. A clinical assistant may perform some diagnostic tests before seeing the optometrist – these tests will give the optometrist an insight into the health of your eyes. The optometrist will then take that data and see what further tests may be required – this will most commonly be testing your vision with the “Big E”/”Snellen” chart, and testing your eyes reaction to light and muscle co-ordination.

Generally speaking, these eyesight tests should be enough to test your vision, however depending on a number of circumstances, further eyesight testing may be required, which can some times even include eyedrops in your eye to dilute the pupil to see a more in-depth picture of the eye.

There is nothing you need to do to prepare for an eyesight test. However, make sure you have as much information as you can about; your health background, any pre-existing family conditions, what medication you take (name, dosage and how long you have been on them) and if/when you first started to notice your vision changing. When attending an eye exam please bring; your Medicare and private health find card (if you have one), any existing glasses or contact lenses you are using, sunglasses (sometimes optometrists use drops that can cause temporary light sensitivity), and a list of any allergies or medications (if applicable).

Whilst it can be confronting going to get your eye health checked, it is an important part of your overall well-being. Look after your eyes now is an investment in your future.

 

 

What to take to an eyesight test

 

 

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Diabetes and Eye Health: Looking After Your Eyes

Diabetics have a lot to manage in regards to their overall health. Having diabetes can play a critical role in your long-term eye health so, it’s important to preserve your most precious sense.

 

Almost 1 in 3 Australian diabetics have some form of diabetes related eye disease. Education and awareness around diabetes and eye health is a factor. Unfortunately, some eye diseases are so gradual in their onset, a person may not experience any symptoms or changes in their vision until it is too late.

Eye health is a specialty, and requires an optometrist or ophthalmologist to assess your eyes. Luckily, the expert and caring team at  in Sydney can help you manage your eye health and prevent diabetes related complications.
 

 

How does diabetes affect your eyes?

When diabetics experience hyperglycaemia – too much sugar in their blood – the sugar can have a toxic effect on cells and blood vessels, including the microscopic blood vessels in your eyes.

Short term, hyperglycaemia can cause blurred vision and this can be fixed when a diabetic’s blood glucose levels return to normal.

However, over time, the tiny blood vessels in the eyes can be permanently damaged from hyperglycaemia; causing the vessels to leak fluid, swell and damage to important parts of the eye.

Hyperglycaemia and diabetes related complications increase the risk and cause many eye diseases like the ones listed below:
 

Diabetic retinopathy

Did you know, Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common cause of blindness in people aged over 50?

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood vessels in the retina – at the back of the eye – are damaged as a complication of diabetes. These damaged blood vessels can lead to bleeding in the eyes, abnormal blood vessel growth and fibrous tissue.

There are 4 stages of stages of diabetic retinopathy, each one progressively worse. Diabetic Retinopathy can occur regardless of the type of diabetes, your age, or how well you manage your diabetes.

 

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Some examples of symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy include:

  • Blurred, distorted or patchy vision
  • Problems with balance, reading, watching television and recognising people
  • Being overly sensitive to glare
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Eye strain

It’s important, as a diabetic to get regular eye checks to slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy. If you notice any changes in your vision, contact your optometrist.
 

 

Diabetic macular oedema

DME is a type of diabetic retinopathy, where fluid from leaking blood vessels in the eye cause the macular to swell. The macular is part of the retina. DME can damage central vision. Blurred vision is caused from extra fluid in the macular. Making it hard to see fine details like reading and peoples faces.

 

Retinal detachment

As diabetic retinopathy progresses, the risk of retinal detachment increases. If fluid from damaged blood vessels pools underneath the retina, it can cause the retina to detach and starve the retina of critical oxygen required for light converting nerve cells.

Retinal detachment is a serious emergency and requires immediate surgery to prevent permanent vision loss.
 

 

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition where vision loss occurs due to damage or thinning of the optic nerve. The nerve that translates the messages from your eyes to your brain. Diabetics have increased risk of developing glaucoma.

There are several types of glaucomas that can affect diabetics. Including open angle glaucoma and neovascular glaucoma.

Some symptoms include:

  • Eye strain and headaches
  • Eye redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos around lights

Glaucoma is a gradual disease and you may not even notice immediate symptoms, giving glaucoma the nickname of the ‘vision thief’.
 

 

Cataracts

Research suggests glucose deposits can ‘fog up’ our lenses. The lenses of our eyes tend to get cloudy as we age but diabetics are more likely to develop ‘cloudy lenses’ formally known as cataracts at an early age. If you start to experience cloudy vision, go to an optometrist as soon as possible.


 

Things to remember about diabetes and eye health

Diabetes greatly increases the risk to a range of eye diseases. It’s important regardless of your age, symptoms and diabetes management, to do these crucial things to reduce your risk of permanent vision loss:

  • Have your eyes checked regularly, at least every two years, to pick up early signs of retinopathy and other eye diseases.
  • Control your blood glucose levels.
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • If you notice your vision change, seek help from your optometrist.

The team at Sparks & Feros Optometrists can help you manage your diabetes related eye health. Book an appointment today – call us on 02 9872 1555 or book online.

 

 

References:
  1. Centre for Eye Research Australia, 2021. Understanding diabetic eye disease. [online] Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA). Available at: [Accessed 29 July 2021].
  2. NIDDK, 2021. Diabetic Eye Disease | NIDDK. [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: [Accessed 27 July 2021].
  3. Lutty, G., 2013. Effects of Diabetes on the Eye. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, [online] 54(14), p.ORSF81. Available at: [Accessed 31 July 2021].
  4. Koetting, C., 2021. The Four Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy – Modern Optometry. [online] Modern Optometry. Available at: [Accessed 31 July 2021].
  5. Diabetes Co UK, 2021. Retinal detachment?is a rare age-related condition that occurs when the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the layer of cells at the back part of your eye (retina) start to pull away.. [online] Diabetes Co UK. Available at: [Accessed 31 July 2021].
  6. NEI, 2020. Glaucoma | National Eye Institute. [online] Nei.nih.gov. Available at: [Accessed 31 July 2021].

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See More Do More with Essilor

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Going out for work and about to have a fun night afterwards? You'll need to change your outfit to match your surroundings.

What about your eyewear?

Different lifestyles have different visual requirements. We offer a range of Essilor lenses that are designed to easily adapt with your everyday lifestyle and visual needs.

To help you find your perfect lens, take advantage of our See More Do More offer. Get 50% Off your second pair of lenses! Offer expires 31 December 2021.

At Sparks & Feros Optometrists, we find the perfect pair of lenses that best suit your lifestyle.

Drop by our store at Carlingford Court or give us a call on 9872 1555

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How to Manage Eye Allergies

Causes of Eye Allergies

Most allergies are caused by the over-reaction of your body’s immune system to an often innocuous substance or “allergen”. These allergens might include pollen, pet hair, mold spores, dust mites, perfumes, shampoos, or air pollutants. When your eyes come into contact with an allergen, your immune system produces histamine which then triggers an allergic response. This may result in watery eyes where the white part of your eye (conjunctiva) becomes pink, red and/or swollen.

Controlling Allergen Exposure

Being aware of what might trigger your eye allergy and taking preventative steps to limit exposure is good place to start. However, avoiding time outdoors, homes with pets, frequently changing bed linens to remove dust mites and removing all household mould might prove problematic!

Another way to manage eye allergies is to avoid touching or rubbing your eyes, which can exacerbate symptoms. Washing your bed linens and pillow cases in hot water to destroy common allergens is also useful. Using over-the-counter antihistamine medications is another way to manage allergy symptoms. Antihistamines however, may reduce nasal symptoms but not necessarily those associated with red and itchy eyes! Antihistamines can also decrease tear quality and quantity, preventing your body from washing away allergens.

If you have any of these symptoms, please make an appointment to see one of our optometrists for check and to discuss your treatment options.

Call us on 02 9872 1555 or book online here

Source:
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (2012). Eye allergy treatment.

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Can Wine Help Reduce Cataracts?

New study reveals that wine consumption may reduce cataracts… only wine, not other alcoholic drinks! The wine antioxidants play a role in cataract prevention!

People who consume alcohol moderately appear less likely to develop cataracts that require surgery. Wine consumption showed the strongest protective effect, suggesting that antioxidants that are abundant in red wine may play a role in cataract prevention.

They found that drinkers who consumed alcohol below the maximum UK recommended weekly limit (up to 14 units per week, which equates to about 6.5 standard glasses of wine) were less likely to undergo cataract surgery. Those that consumed more than this amount per week were more likely to develop a cataract.

Participants with high beer, cider, or spirits consumption had no significantly reduced risk.
The authors also noted that drinking high levels of alcohol is widely linked to many serious and chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Want to learn more? Book an appointment to chat to our optometrists - call us on 02 9872 1555 or book online here.

Source: NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

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Drive Safe with Polarised Lenses

Keep Safe on the Road This Winter Season!

During winter, the sun doesn’t rise quite as high as it does in the summer. Glare from low winter sun can cause glare that can temporarily blind drivers making it hard to see the road ahead.

A good pair of sunglasses can help significantly with blocking out the glare of low winter sun. Sparks & Feros have a wide range of polarised lenses to suit your prescription.

Polarised sunglasses greatly reduce the sun’s glare, and also protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun. Keep a spare pair in your glove compartment and you’ll always be prepared!

Drop by our store at Carlingford Court and find the right pair of polarised sunglasses for you!

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MiYo Smart Myopia Control: Protecting your child's eyesight

Your child may be suffering from Myopia. How can you protect them from it?

MiYOSMART by HOYA Lens Australia is a Myopia Control lens that helps prevent and reduce the risks of developing sight threatening conditions.

Find out more about MiYOSMART and how it can effectively control your child's myopia.

Book in for an eye test online or give us a call on 9872 1555

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Empower Your Vision with Varilux from Essilor

Are you seeking inspiration beyond your vision? Don't let eye sight limit you!

Varilux progressive lenses from Essilor provide seamless and sharp transitions from near to far.

See no limits and empower your vision.

Book an appointment online or give us a call on 9872 1555


 

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Featured Product: NuPolar Polarised Lenses

Need to protect your eyes from the harsh brightness of the sun?

NuPolar could be the perfect lens choice for your sunglasses.

Its quality is built to last. The rich lens colours stay as vibrant as your vision, no matter how long you spend under the sun.

NuPolar is the polarised lens of choice for long-lasting satisfaction and value for money.

Keen for a pair of prescription polarised sunglasses? Visit our store in Carlingford Court today for an eye test. You can also book an appointment or give us a call on 9872 1555

 

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Introducing Transitions light intelligent lenses

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The all new Transitions light intelligent lenses constantly adapt from indoors to outdoors, meaning you can keep them on and explore without any interruptions!

Speak to our friendly team on 02 9872 1555 or in store at Carlingford Court to find out more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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