On the Sunshine Coast there are many optometrists offering eye tests, but the question anyone must ask is, “Are all eye tests the same?”
The types of examinations that are performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist can vary from practitioner to practitioner, so the short answer is that eye tests are not the same.
So if not all eye tests are the same, how do you know if you are getting a good eye test?
Most optometrists offer a standard number of of basic eye tests, including testing the seeing ability of the patient, the long distance prescription of the patient (longsighted, short sighted or astigmatic) and the eye health of the patient.
Frankly, if you have an eye test and these areas have not been looked at, then you have not experienced a complete eye test, and you should seek a competent eye test elsewhere!
On the Sunshine Coast optometrist eye test will almost always cover these basic areas, so if you have had an eye test in our region it is most likely that you are aware of your distance prescription, your ability to see and the general health of your eyes.
However, there is more to complete test of your eyes than just doing the basics.
Many optometrists do not do extensive eye testing because it takes time, and in our modern society many practitioners need to push as many patients through as possible to cover exorbitant shopping centre rents!
As a behavioural optometrist, I too far more extensive testing at the near area, rather than the distance. This is because most people spend their time looking at computers, books and iPads, so most people require some help in this area.
Even those who are losing their distance vision require extensive testing up place, because distance problems are most often the result of people trying to cope with excessive amounts of close work.
In addition, there are always better and more accurate tests for many of the eye diseases that we face today, including glaucoma and macular degeneration. No eye test is complete without some form of retinal analysis and the measuring of eye pressure, but there are more effective methods for measuring and recording this information now than ever before.
Perhaps the great unknown in the entire debate is the competence of the practitioner. While we may all do our eye tests the same way, it is the interpreting and understanding of this data which sets some practitioners above others. This depends on the experience of the optometrist, and their ability to adapt what is measured to real life situations.
As a behavioural optometrist, I often do not prescribe exactly what I measure. Before prescribing any glasses, I sit with the patient and discuss the various needs, so that I can tailor the glasses I prescribed to suit their lifestyle and to help them become more productive in whatever area they choose.
I believe it is not enough to just churn out numbers when we should be maximising the potential of our patients. Therefore, if someone is a truck driver I will prescribe differently to someone who is a computer worker. If someone is a student, I can prescribe lenses to help their reading and study whilst protecting them from losing their distance vision by developing shortsightedness.
So if you are looking for an eye examination on the Sunshine Coast, choose an optometrist with a proven track record, loads of experience and the ability to tailor what he measures to suit your visual needs.
If you are wise, you will never choose your eye examination based on the price. Most of this bulk bill, so this should not even be an issue!