From the common dry eye to more serious conditions like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), truth be told, the older we get, the more our eyes tend to deteriorate, while certain issues can crop up at an earlier stage. For this reason, the health of your eyes should be a top priority with regular eye tests forming part of your annual health check-ups. Here are a few telltale signs that you may need glasses.
Qualified at prescribing and dispensing glasses, as well as making spectacles and contact lenses, the various dispensing opticians stores found across the island can serve as your one-stop shop for all your eye care needs including frames, contact lenses, several eye care products and supplies, while most establishments have an eye specialist in attendance. The name, contact details, credentials and office hours of opticians, ophthalmologists and optometrists are generally displayed outside the store and visiting one for a routine eye test is strictly by appointment.
Types of Glasses
Glasses can correct a number of vision problems such as myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism. Nowadays, lenses are usually made of polycarbonate or trivex both of which are thin, light and scratch resistant materials, while they also protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet light. In contrast, those who have a strong prescription would be best served with high-index lenses that make the lens thin and light, so you may kiss goodbye those unattractive coke-bottle lenses once and for all!
If you're in need of multifocal spectacles, bifocal and trifocal lenses are available. Bifocals are eyeglasses appropriate for those prescribed with presbyopia but who also need correction for myopia, hyperopia and/or astigmatism. The lens is split into two, with the lower part correcting near vision, while the upper half is designed to help with distance vision. On the other hand, the less common trifocals are also on hand, with these having an additional section above the bifocal lens to help with intermediate vision.
All local stores have a variety of frames including both basic and designer branded, suitable for all tastes and budgets, while clients can also find numerous options for kids. Some stores may also cater to those that delve into sports by offering specialised spectacles for cycling and running and other forms of active sports, whereas others may also have available prescription goggles or diving and snorkelling masks.
Most opticians have an assortment of sunglasses for you to choose from. Serving as more than a fashion accessory, they are important for protecting your eyes from the sun's UV rays and may help reduce your risk of developing conditions like cataract and macular degeneration. The most popular styles include aviator, retro square, browline, cat eye and round, however, most stores have an even wider variety available. Opt for polarized sunglasses which reduce glare from surfaces like water or the mirror-coated alternatives that hide your eyes. Additionally, prescription sunglasses can also be ordered from most stores, providing you with a comfortable solution for when outdoors.
If you're not fond of glasses yet your eyesight requires help in order for you to see clearly, then contact lenses are a convenient alternative and just like spectacles, they can correct both farsightedness and near-sightedness, as well as astigmatism. You may opt between soft contact lenses made of flexible plastic or rigid gas permeable lenses, otherwise known as RPG contact lenses which are made from durable plastic. Although these are more long-lasting and therefore more cost-efficient, they do take longer to get used to. Those suffering from astigmatism can purchase toric soft contact lenses which differ from the conventional spherical variety. In addition, depending on how long you would need to be wearing them and depending on how often you would like to dispose of them, you may purchase daily, weekly or monthly lenses. What's more, some stores also offer custom made contacts and a range of contact lens solutions. Looking to enhance your eyes with extra depth and vibrancy? Go for coloured lenses which come in many colours ranging from the subtle and natural-looking to the bold and striking.
What to expect during an eye test
It is recommended that you get an eye test at least every 2 years, however, if you already have glasses or you're suffering from a condition like cataract or glaucoma, you must visit your optometrist more often. Also, bear in mind that a simple eye test can detect early signs of underlying problems like diabetes or high blood pressure. The optometrist will tailor the test to suit your needs, however, the results of your last test, any family history or underlying issues will also be considered. Below is a list of tests your doctor may conduct:
Non-contact tonometer: this machine tests the pressure in your eyes by bouncing a puff of air at each eye in turn
Ophthalmoscope: this involves examining the retina by using a bright light to shine into your eyes
Test Chart: one of the most popular tests, this involves you having to read from a chart while your near and distant vision is tested
Autorefractor: this test checks how well your eyes focus
Opticians can also conduct eye tests on young children. Some common conditions they look out for with children under the age of 3 include lazy eyes, crossed eyes or turned-out eyes, whereas school-age children and adolescents may undergo any of the aforementioned tests.
Get your glasses sorted in no time
The majority of stores boast an in-house, fully equipped lab which allows them to carry out any repairs on spectacles and sunglasses, while more importantly, many can also prepare prescribed eyeglasses. Spectacles typically take around a week, however, an increasing amount of stores are now offering the ultimate express service by preparing prescription sunglasses within an hour's time.