We offer the best in Optometry because we want to help you maintain the health of your eyes.
As well as standard eye examinations and contact lens appointments we also offer OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) retinal scans, Colorimetry & Dry Eye clinics.
Our optometrist partner, Yegi, has done specialist training that allows her to work closely with local hospitals in the NHS MECS – Minor Eye Conditions Service. So our EYE HEALTH APPOINTMENTS are your first port of call for minor eye problems. By Minor we mean that we treat conditions that can wait until we are open – obviously sudden total loss of sight in one or both eyes or agonising pain needs seeing immediately at your local A&E department (WHH, QEQM, Maidstone or Pembury). We also work closely with local hospitals on Glaucoma monitoring schemes and direct cataract referrals.
Unfortunately many eye conditions result in such incremental changes in vision that by the time you notice them permanent damage will have occurred, in addition, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration have no warning signs and are not associated with any pain.
We were the first practice in Faversham to install an OCT a couple of years ago and it has revolutionised our ability to detect AMD, it has proved invaluable in the detection and prompt referral of macular degeneration and other eye conditions. Unlike a conventional retinal photograph the OCT takes a detailed scan and cross section of the retina meaning that small changes can be detected by comparing scans from year to year. A scan isn’t included in an NHS examination but most people feel that the £25.00 charge is a good investment in their eye health for the future.
The OCT scanner was previously only available in hospital eye departments but we have invested in one because of its huge benefits in early diagnosis referral of various eye conditions but in particular glaucoma and age related macular degeneration.
We have specialist clinics for Visual Stress, sometimes also called Meares Irlen Syndrome. We offer free assessments to investigate pattern glare causing reading difficulties and further appointments to investigate the need for colour overlays and individually prescribed precision tints for glasses with our Colorimeter. We routinely find improvements in reading speed and accuracy of 30% or more. The same technology can also help some types of migraine, visual loss after a stroke and Charles Bonnet syndrome. Our Dispensing Optician partner Cathy is always happy to talk to you about any of this.
Who does what?
An Optometrist performs eyes examinations and prescribes corrective lenses or spectacles to those who need them. Optometrists are trained for at least four years and learn to examine the eyes to detect signs of injury, disease, abnormality and defects in vision. In addition, some general health conditions (for example diabetes) show themselves in the eye and an optometrist is also trained to detect these and refer patients to other healthcare professionals as appropriate.
A Dispensing Optician is trained to accurately assess the individual needs of the customer and recommend and provide the most effective eye wear products and solutions after taking account of visual, lifestyle and vocational needs. A major part of this is the interpretation of your optical prescription and the recommendation of lenses, tints and coatings to provide optimum visual performance, Dispensing Opticians enjoy problem solving.
An Optical Assistant is often your first point of contact in practice as their main focus is on customer service. They have a good knowledge of the latest trends for both frames and lenses, with a special focus on frame selection; exploring customer needs thoroughly, analysing prescriptions and offering assistance according to face shape and aesthetic preferences. Optical Assistants ensure that the collection of your new spectacles is conducted in a professional manner and they also perform many clinical and administrative tasks.
[accordion openfirst=false clicktoclose=true tag=h2]
[accordion-item title=”Eye Tests” state=closed]
Regular eye examinations are essential for clear, comfortable vision. They are an important health check too – the optometrist checks the health of your eyes and can find indications of other medical conditions.
There are hundreds of different ways to do the tests in your eye examination. This guide shows a typical example of each. You may not have all the tests described, because your optometrist will tailor your eye examination to suit your individual needs.
Using a non-contact tonometer
Using a non-contact tonometer, the optometrist blows a few puffs of air at each of your eyes in turn. The air bounces back at the instrument, giving a measurement of the pressure inside each eye. This is an important test, as high pressure can indicate the early stages of glaucoma, a sight-threatening condition.
About your health and lifestyle
The optometrist asks questions about your health, your family’s health, your work and your lifestyle. It is very important to have a clear understanding of your vision needs, especially if a specific problem is the reason for your visit.
The optometrist may use an instrument called a retinoscope, which bounces a light beam off the back of your eye and back into the instrument. Different lenses focus the reflected light beam until it is steady, giving a close guide to the prescription you need. The retinoscope is very accurate – it is used to test the sight of very small children, or people with communication difficulties who can’t easily describe how clearly they can see.
The test chart
The optometrist fine-tunes their findings by asking you to read the test chart through different strength lenses. The results for one eye often vary from those for the other, so each eye will be tested individually before both eyes are finally tested together. The optometrist flips different lenses in front of your eyes that change how clearly you can see. Depending on your answers, they change the lenses until you have the clearest, most comfortable vision possible.
Using the ophthalmoscope
The optometrist uses an ophthalmoscope to examine the retina at the back of the eye, including the blood vessels and the front of the optic nerve. This important test can detect changes which can indicate diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. The optometrist darkens the room and sits quite close to you, while they shine a bright light into each eye in turn using the ophthalmoscope. The light may leave shadows on your vision, but these soon fade.
The oxo box
You are also asked to focus on an oxo box, and say whether the illuminated lines are in line horizontally and vertically. This indicates whether your eyes work well together – balanced and co-ordinated eyes are essential for clear com>ortable vision.
The slit lamp
The slit lamp is a powerful, illuminated microscope that is used to examine the outer surface of your eyes – the cornea, the iris and the lens – to check for abnormalities or scratches. This is a very important test for contact lens wearers.
[accordion-item title=”NHS Entitlement” state=closed]
Regular eye tests are essential and should form part of your healthcare routine, like visiting the doctor or dentist. In the UK the NHS provides free eye tests for qualifying patients and in some cases they also contribute towards the cost of glasses.
Am I entitled to a free eye test from the NHS?
If you fall into any of the following groups, the NHS will pay for the cost of your eye test:
- Up to 16 years of age.
- Up to 19 years of age and in full-time education.
- Over 60 years of age.
- People (or partners of people) who receive certain benefits.
- Holders (or partners of holders) of an exemption certificate (HC2).
- People who need certain complex lenses.
- People diagnosed diabetic or with glaucoma.
- People aged 40 or over with a brother, sister or child diagnosed with glaucoma.
Will the NHS contribute towards the cost of my glasses?
The NHS help certain people with the cost of their glasses. To find out if you qualify or for more information contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or ask us at the practice.
[accordion-item title=”Eyesight Explained” state=closed]
Your eyesight can be affected in a variety of different ways, sometimes related to age or the shape of your eyeball. Almost all conditions are treatable to some degree, with some conditions, the earlier they are detected, the easier they are to treat.
Common Eye conditions:
Myopia is the medical term for the eye condition better known as short sightedness. If you are only able to see things clearly at a distance with the help of vision aids, then you are short sighted. People with myopia are able to see objects close to them clearly; it is only when objects are far away that problems occur.
Hyperopia is an eye condition that is often better known as long sightedness. If you have difficulty focusing on things that are close by, but find it easy to see things that are far away, there’s a chance you could be long sighted. Long sightedness is caused when the eyeball is too short or when the lens is not round enough. This makes it difficult for the eye to focus on near objects. Some long sighted people find that their symptoms become more pronounced as they age, with some finding that they end up having difficulty focusing on distant objects too.
Astigmatism is an eye condition that can affect the clarity of your vision and make it more difficult for you to focus on objects. Astigmatism is most common in eyes where the cornea is oval like a rugby ball instead of spherical like a football. Most astigmatic corneas have two curves; a steeper curve and a flatter curve. This causes light to focus at more than one point in the eye, resulting in blurred vision. Astigmatism can be a mild or fairly serious eye condition, with symptoms ranging from very mild blurred vision to severe blurriness resulting in squinting, fatigue and headaches. Many long sighted and short sighted people also suffer from some degree of astigmatism.
Presbyopia is an eye condition that is characterised by an inability to focus on objects that are nearby. It is a condition that is caused by the ageing process and is common in people reaching middle age. When reaching their 40’s and 50’s, many people find they have difficulty in focusing and suffer from presbyopia to some degree – even if they have never had any trouble with their sight in the past. This is because, as the natural lens ages, it finds it more difficult to alter its focus from distance to near.
[accordion-item title=”Corporate Eyecare” state=closed]
We are proud to be involved in a number of nationwide corporate eyecare schemes allowing us to supply both safety spectacles to the relevent EN166 and EN167 regulations and VDU spectacles all with great savings to you, the employee.
We run Schemes from…
- Eyecare Plans
- Duncan and Todd (ICE)
- Edenred Eyecare vouchers
Custom Corporate eyecare schemes for local businesses
We also cater for the local businesses, setting up custom eyecare schemes to suite each business’ needs. Call us if you’d like to discuss how this could benefit you.
[accordion-item title=”Eye Health” state=closed]
“It was the eye test that detected the glaucoma and saved my sight.”
Having an eye examination at least once every two years should be part of everyone’s health care routine. Many causes of sight loss are preventable if they are caught early by visiting an optometrist.
If you want to know more about an eye condition, The RNIB’s eye conditions guide is the best place to start. You may also be interested in finding out how the eye works. Click here to visit the RNIB website!