So if I come in for an eye exam, what are you going to do to me?

If you’ve been reading my blog you know there are a lot of reasons to come in for an eye exam even if you feel that your vision is perfect and that you don’t need glasses. You already understand that there’s the health and muscle function side of an eye exam that is just as important as how well you see. For many people who have never had an eye exam though they wonder what is involved. Anything new can be uncomfortable and if you feel like everything is fine people hesitate to come in. So let’s go over what an eye exam is all about.

When you first come for a visit we’re going to have you fill in a nice form with a lot of your personal medical information. We need this to rule in  or out certain eye problems and to know a bit more about your health. All of this information is kept strictly private and cannot be released to anyone or any group without your consent (this is true of ALL medical and personal information we obtain).

Once you’re all checked in there are some preliminary tests done by our optician. At Eye Spy Optometry we first get an estimate of how well your eyes are focusing using a machine called an auto-refractor. These results are what I use as a starting point to narrow down an exact prescription. Next, we take pictures of the back of your eye as well as scans of both your optic nerves and your maculae. The optic nerve is what sends the information back to your brain and is affected in many disorders including glaucoma. The macula is the part of your eye used for fine central detail. There are many things that could go wrong here too but one of the most common is macular degeneration. These scans give us the ability to detect changes that may be related to an eye condition much earlier than just looking inside of the eye.

Next you get to see me. I’ll review your medication and health information with you and then we jump right in. I check to see how you’re seeing with glasses if you have them, without if you don’t. I also check to see how well the eyes are working together and check pupils for signs of any neurological concerns. What comes next is the stereotypical part of the exam. I put a machine called a phoropter in front of your face and show you a variety of lenses, asking you which makes the image at the end of the room better. This is the part of the exam that causes people the most stress. Don’t worry though! My job is to help you through it and make sure we don’t come out with the wrong prescription. You can’t fail the test, I promise, because it isn’t a pass/fail sort of test! I will also have a look at the health of your eyes, inside and out, and finally I’ll check the pressure in your eyes, but not with that puff of air test!

This is a traditional phoropter (used in the 'Which is better, one or two?' test). At Eye Spy Optometry we have a more modern, digital phoropter.

This is a traditional phoropter (used in the 'Which is better, one or two?' test). At Eye Spy Optometry we have a more modern, digital phoropter.

The final step to your eye exam is to review everything. I’ll show you the photos and scans and explain what they mean, discuss any health concerns and review your prescription, if there is one. I’ll make any recommendations about how to help keep your eyes healthy or improve your vision that make sense based off of your results. Most importantly though, I’ll answer your questions. I do my very best to make sure everything we review together is clear but sometimes jargon slips in. Always feel comfortable asking questions and I’ll do my best to make sure it all makes sense.

If you do happen to need glasses there is ONE more thing that happens. You get to pick out frames! That’s the fun part of the exam. There are so many different colours, shapes and styles to pick from and wide range of prices to suit every budget that finding something that works for you is fun and stress free.

So book an appointment today! You know you should get everything checked out even if your vision is great. Now that you know what we do when you come to see us there’s no excuse not to give us a call at (403) 474-6744 or book online here.

As always, any questions feel free to contact us on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or via our website.

Bionic Lens? Maybe...

By now you may have seen the article talking about a new implantable lens that would let people see 3x better than 20/20, have clear vision at all distances and prevent cataracts. This article has been making the rounds this past week. It sounds too good to be true but it sure would be amazing if it works.

If you haven't had a chance to read the article you can by clicking here though there are several different sources including the CBC. I encourage you to take a look and read the articles. Certainly what they are proposing is very exciting, but before you throw away your glasses there are a few things to think about.

The most important thing to know is that we already have this technology (or something very similar)! There are a few multifocal lens implants out there right now, today, that can be implanted in your eye surgically. One of the most commonly used lenses is called the Restor IOL. This nifty little lens implant uses diffraction (which is a complicated optical/physics concept. Essentially it means that light is bent instead of focusing in a straight line. Fore a more detailed explanation click here.) to allow people to see far, near and everything in between. You won't get a cataract because they remove your natural lens (which turns into a cataract eventually) when they implant the Restor IOL. Sounds great, right (and similar to this new bionic lens)? It is, but (you knew there was a but coming didn't you) it comes with a few drawbacks. Diffraction allows you to see all distances but often at a cost. Vision at all distances, while excellent, is often not as clear as it was previously. The lens works very well for reading but sometimes low powered reading glasses are still needed for extended reading or very small print. That's why this lens isn't recommend for younger people; your natural vision is likely better than it would be after having this lens implanted. It is also quite expensive which rules the surgery out for some people.

This is a Restor IOL implant. Those rings diffract light and allow someone to see all distances relatively clearly

It's entirely possible this new lens design will be different and solve these problems. There's another design called an 'accommodating' lens implant. It works more like the natural lens in your eye and works to focus light clearly at all distances. There's one of those on the market right now as well. It's known as a Crystalens. The Crystalens, when it was being developed, was going to be the next big thing. Everyone hoped that it would revolutionize lens implants and given people high quality vision at all distances without the drawbacks of a diffractive lens implant. Once it got through clinical trials though and was available for popular use they discovered that while it worked it didn't work as well as they had hoped. People still needed reading glasses after their surgery and the lens is not used much anymore.

This is the Crystalens. It was hoped that it would allow clear vision at all distances are mimic your natural lens. It didn't quite work out.

This is the Crystalens. It was hoped that it would allow clear vision at all distances are mimic your natural lens. It didn't quite work out.

This new lens may be better. It might be an improvement on these designs or a totally new design (their website is vague on how this new lens will work). Certainly I expect that someday there will be a great design that will be an improvement over anything we have yet. This lens still needs to be tested though and a lot can happen between having a prototype and having something that can be used and works as well as hoped.

As always if you would like more information you can contact us on TwitterFacebookGoogle +, via our website or phone us at (403) 474-6744.