The Eye Examination
People who periodically walk into our practice and request an immediate "eye test" are frequently under the impression that it is a quick 5 to10 minute "job". While this perception is understandable, it does show that as a profession we have not fully conveyed to the public the importance of a comprehensive vision examination as opposed to a "quick eye check".
A simple eye test usually implies determining the spectacle “strength”. While this can be done in ten minutes, many other important aspects are necessary to determine both the level of vision function and the state of health of the eye. Specific vision requirements, the nature of current spectacles, binocular co-ordination, use of any prescription drugs and general health problems, including such conditions as diabetes and high blood pressure, are all relevant. It is essential that every eye examination includes a comprehensive assessment of both the external and internal state of health of the eye. Without this, serious conditions such as tumours, haemorrhages, retinal detachments and glaucoma can easily be missed.
While modern technology has increased efficiency, it has also expanded the techniques available to detect and treat life and sight threatening conditions. However, it is only by taking the time to use this technology that such benefits can be achieved. Medicare recognises this and requires the duration of a comprehensive examination to exceed 15 minutes to qualify for payment of a full consultation. A thorough initial examination should take between 30 and 40 minutes.