When it comes to taking care of your eyes, it pays to know the basics. By staying informed, you can know when to visit us, how to care for your eyes daily, and often, ease a lot of your own concerns.
To help, we’ve compiled an FAQ list of questions we’re often asked. Check out the list below and if you have any other questions you’d like us to cover, contact us to chat to one of our lovely team members.
How often should I get my eyes examined?
We recommend that you have a comprehensive eye examination every one to two years, depending on your age, risk factors and whether you currently wear corrective lenses. Contact lens wearers should have yearly eye examinations. Regular eye examinations can do more than help you see better. They can identify issues of early on-set blindness, glaucoma and even certain kinds of cancer.
How long does it take to have an eye examination?
An eye examination usually takes about 30-40 minutes. If you're planning to pick out glasses on the same day though, give yourself a bit more time. You don't want to rush while picking out your new look!
What should I bring with me to my eye examination?
A list of any medications you are currently taking. Bring all pairs of spectacles you normally wear. If you wear contact lenses, please wear these to the appointment and bring a copy of our most recent contact lens prescription if possible. If applicable, bring medical insurance details (like Southern Cross) if you are seeking insurance coverage for a portion of your fees. Finally, bring your questions or concerns that you would like to discuss with your Optometrist.
What causes glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition caused by raised pressure inside your eyeball, often due to issues in the eye’s fluid draining system. This causes elevated pressure, which damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma is often called the ‘silent thief’ of eye sight because it affects your peripheral vision very gradually, often without being noticed. If left untreated, it can eventually cause blindness.
Regular eye examinations are your first defense against glaucoma, as are the healthy lifestyle habits. Advanced technology means we can detect glaucoma earlier and treat glaucoma earlier. If you do have glaucoma, treatment options include eye drops, laser and surgery procedures. Your eye care professional will discuss the best choice for you.
What causes dry eyes?
Dry eye is a frustrating condition, characterised by an inability or difficulty in producing tears that provide sufficient lubrication. This causes the eye to become dry, red and painful.
Dry eye affects more women than men and is more common with age. Symptoms can include blurred vision, pain, redness, stinging, burning and an inability to cry.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to treat dry eyes. Eye washes, eye drops, ointments, decongestant medications and IPL treatments are some ways to provide relief and reduce symptoms.
What causes myopia?
Myopia (or nearsightedness) is a common cause of poor distance vision that affects millions of people worldwide.
The structure of the eye is to blame. It often occurs when the eyeball is too long, or the cornea (the protective outer layer of the eye) is too curved, which means the light that enters your eye won’t focus correctly. With short-sightedness, the image focuses in front of the retina (the light sensitive part of your eye) instead of directly on the retina. Myopia usually runs in families and often starts in childhood to teenage years.
In addition to causing blurry distance vision, myopia can cause eye strain, headaches and fatigue.
Technology advancements means that we have ways to try and control or slow the rate of myopia progression. This can be achieved with glasses or contacts available at Visique Eye Spy Optometrists.
What is blue light and is it dangerous?
Blue light is on the light spectrum and while the majority of harmful blue light comes naturally from the sun, we spend hours in front of digital devices and lights that emit artificial blue light, such as LED screens.
What can I do to protect my eyes from blue light?
Newer technology in spectacle lenses can provide maximum protection against harmful UV and blue-violet rays, both outdoors and in the presence of LED screens. Wear sunglasses with UV protection outdoors. Also, take regular breaks from your screen time, using things like the 20:20:20 rule to rest your eyes periodically and avoid eye strain.
What is the 20:20:20 rule?
Basically, every 20 minutes spent using a screen, you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away (6 meters) for a total of 20 seconds.
Do I still need eye examinations after I have had laser eye surgery?
Yes you do. LASIK surgery is a procedure that alters the shape and thickness of the cornea. It’s important to maintain regular eye health check ups to ensure the eye’s corneal surface is healthy, and to rule out any other eye diseases.
Just like you would take your new car to a mechanic routinely for a warrant of fitness, having a regular eye exam is an important step to ensure your eyes are fit and healthy.
Which are the vitamins required for healthy eyes?
Great nutrition is essential for eye health, providing the vitamins and nutrients to form the building blocks of healthy cells. Some great vitamins for eye health are:
Omega-3 fatty acids are a great supplement and can be found in things like salmon, fish oil capsules, or flaxseed oil. Low levels of Omega 3’s are associated with dry eyes, and key acids in Omega 3’s are crucial to the development of retinal cells.
Lutein is a carotenoid - a pigment found in plants and your retina. Taking lutein as a supplement can help to increase density in your retina.
Lutein acts as a light filter, protecting the eye tissues from sunlight damage. It helps to prevent eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration!
Foods rich in lutein include egg yolks, broccoli, spinach, kale, corn, orange pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, orange juice, zucchini and squash. Lutein is absorbed best when it is taken with a high-fat meal.
Read more in our latest eye care blog (ADD LINK - blog not currently published) or enquire about vitamins and supplements you could be taking during your next Visique Eye Spy visit.
Zinc is a powerful antioxidant that is essential for eye health. If taking zinc, it should be taken with a copper supplement as zinc causes copper absorption to lessen.
In studies, Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Supplementing with this daily, in addition to eating a balanced diet of fruit and vegetables is key.
Do I need a referral to see an Optometrist at Visique Eye Spy?
No. You can book an appointment directly with us via our contact page here.
What payment options does Visique Eye Spy have?
We accept cash, EFTPOS, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Farmers Card,and Q-Card. We also use After-Pay and Genoapay. Feel free to talk to our friendly team about managing your payments.
Are you covered by health insurance providers like Southern Cross or NIB? If so, they may also contribute to your eye care needs.
Some workplaces help towards the cost of spectacles if they are for specific vision needs at work eg. computer glasses or safety spectacles. Does your employer offer this? It’s worth asking the question.
Eye Exams & Treatments
When it comes to eye examinations, we offer comprehensive, full-service eye examinations at Visique Eye Spy Optometrists. Check out the questions we are commonly asked below.
How long does an eye examination take?
This all depends on your individual circumstances. Someone healthy with no conditions can take 30-45 minutes. An older patient or someone with more complex eye needs can take longer. Your optometrist will discuss this with you on the day of your consultation.
How often should I have my eyes tested?
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to get your eyes checked every two years.
Your eyes may be in great shape, but regular checks are the best prevention for conditions such as vision impairment, cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma which can come on gradually. Regular checks can point out any warning signs and ensure your eyes stay healthy for years to come.
What’s more, eye checks can also discover underlying health conditions like diabetes, or hypertension. So your optometrist can provide valuable input on your overall health and wellbeing.
Eye tests may be recommended more regularly if you have an eye condition that needs more frequent monitoring. Your optometrist will let you know when your next recommended eye examination will be. Think of this as making a regular effort to keep on top of your eye health, so you can live worry free.
Annual eye examinations are recommended for contact lens wearers.
I have a red or sore eye, should I see an Optometrist or my GP first?
If it’s during normal working hours, call us on 06 354 6666. We specialise in eye care and have the right equipment to make the right diagnosis. If your eye is painful, swollen, or you experience any sudden vision changes or light sensitivity, you should seek help immediately.
While a sore eye can just be a minor irritation, they can often be signs of something worse.
It’s best not to take any chances, so if something feels out of the ordinary, it’s worth a check up.
What does an eye test involve and what are you testing for?
At Visique Eye Spy Optometrists, comprehensive eye examinations are conducted by qualified optometrists.
Testing can include:
- A review of your eye history, medical background and family history
- Eye coordination check
- Refraction tests (checking the power of your eyes)
- Internal and external assessment of your eye health including the blood vessels, retina and optic discs
- Peripheral vision test
- Glaucoma, cataract and macular degeneration checks
- 3D retinal review
- There may be additional tests recommended such as stereopsis, colour vision, amsler grid, OCT scans
- A discussion of the best options for you e.g. glasses, contact lenses or surgery.
From these assessments, your optometrist will determine whether there are any vision problems or conditions affecting your eyes and be able to prescribe a comprehensive vision care plan.
At what age should I have my children's eyes examined?
Eye examinations are incredibly important for children and the first step in determining whether any underlying conditions will affect their vision development.
From hand-eye coordination to focusing skills and visual acuity, eye exams can detect any potential vision issues and provide treatment plans to ensure your child can live their life to its fullest potential.
Often Plunket visits are at the front line for infants and children under 5. Plunket does a B4 School vision and hearing check soon after their fourth birthday. This allows time for any support or adjustments which could include getting glasses or a follow up with an optometrist before they start school.
Watch for the following signs:
- A wandering eye that turns in or out, especially when they are tired
- Screwing their eyes up to tilting their head to see
- Frequent headaches
- Having trouble reading or learning for their age
- Are clumsier than usual for their age
Kids should then generally have an eye exam at least every two years if no interventions are required. Children who do have eye problems should be provided with a treatment and regular examination plan as recommended by an eyecare professional.
If you have any concerns about your child’s eyes and their vision, please come and see us.
Am I able to wear contact lenses?
Contact lenses are a great option for people with visual impairments who don’t wish to wear glasses for aesthetic or functional reasons. They are generally easy to wear and remove, but do come with risks and cannot be worn by everyone.
If you have repeated eye infections, have eye lubrication issues or allergic reactions, they may not be a suitable option. Due to the contact of your hands with your eyes, there is also protocol around hygiene that needs to be followed to ensure the eyes stay clean and free from infection.
Generally speaking, nine out of ten people are suitable candidates for contact lenses, so you should check with your optometrist to see if you are a good candidate for contact lenses.
Because contact lenses are medical devices, they need to be prescribed and fitted by your optometrist. This ensures you get the best contact lenses for you and your eyes.
Should I see an optometrist or ophthalmologist for contacts?
Optometrists are usually the best to see regarding contact lenses. You can book in for an appointment with one of our Visique Eye Spy Optometrists online.
What is an easy way to put in contact lenses?
Putting in contact lenses may feel strange at first, but you get used to it quickly.
At Visique Eye Spy, we want to make sure that you know all the in’s and out’s with contact lenses before you take them away. That means we’ll make time to personally show you how to insert and remove your contact lenses safely, how to tell if it’s the right way round or inside out, how to hygienically clean and disinfect your contact lenses, and what to look out for if there are any signs of eye infections. Once, you’re confident and competent in handling your contact lenses, we will usually give you some to take home and trial.
We also want to ensure that everything is perfect after Day One - so we’ll also make time for a contact lens ‘after-care’ appointment. We’ll check to see that your vision is fantastic, that your eyes are still healthy with contact lens wear, and make any fine tuning adjustments if needed so you can have peace of mind with clear, comfortable, healthy vision.
What is it like to wear contact lenses?
At Visique Eye Spy, we like to give an obligation-free test drive of what contact lenses would be like for you. The first step is to have a full eye-examination. This helps us determine what contact lenses might best suit your eyes. We may have some contact lenses on hand, in-store to try out on the day! Don’t worry - we’ll put the contact lenses in for you, and take them out. But it gives you experience of what contact lenses feel like, and what the vision is like. You can then make an informed decision about whether to proceed with contact lenses or not.
Sometimes we might need to order contact lenses in your prescription to try out. If that’s the case, your optometrist will make an appointment on another day for you to test drive your contact lenses.
Like any new change, contact lenses can take some getting used too. Many people who wear lenses liken it to having a tear in your eye; a noticeable feeling, but nothing painful or overly irritating. This is a feeling you get used to and after time, wearing them will feel normal.
Occasionally your eyes may need time to adjust. Some people find their eyes water and have to settle down gradually.
Contact lenses are extremely common and most people wear them daily without a care in the world.
Do hard contacts ever expire?
Whether you wear hard or soft disposable contacts, they do have an expiration date. You need to be aware of this to ensure you are wearing contacts that are in good condition, so your eyes can stay that way too. Annual examinations with your optometrist will review the condition of your contact lenses.
These are disposable lenses meant for short-term use. Depending on which lenses you have, they will usually either be for daily wear, fortnightly or monthly wear.
Monthly replacement contact lenses are a cost-effective option for people who want to wear contact lenses more often than not. These will need to be removed each day, cleaned and disinfected overnight and can be worn the next day. These contact lenses will need to be thrown away at the end of each month and start the new month with a new fresh pair of contacts.
Daily wear disposables are different. They are designed to be worn for one day only, then removed and thrown away. These are great for people who just want freedom from glasses every now and then; eg. for going out socially, or tramping, or cycling. The risk eye infections are very low with daily disposable contact lenses because every time you put them in, it’s a brand new fresh pair. Daily wear contact lenses are also a more hygenic option for those who are prone to eye infections.
Extended-wear lenses can be worn routinely, including while sleeping - only if deemed safe by your optometrist.
Hard contact lenses
Rigid gas permeable (hard) contacts are not as common today and require a higher level of care. They need to be well looked after because they last longer than soft lenses.
Hard contact lenses these days are more commonly used for eye conditions like keratoconus or pellucid marginal degeneration.
Hard contact lenses are also used for orthokeratology in myopia control.
Can I wear contact lenses with glaucoma?
This depends. Glaucoma treatment typically includes prescription eye drops to reduce eye pressure. While some of these are fine to use with contacts, others contain ingredients that can affect the lifespan of the lens.
The short answer for this is to follow the instruction of your eye care professional. If you are managing glaucoma, they will help you determine whether contact lenses are an option.