Monday, April 30, 2012

How To Study For Your Eye Exam

Over the years I have noticed that patients can often struggle with the eye examination process.  The actual part that patients struggle with is officially known as "the refraction".  It is in this part of the exam sequence that the eye doctor is able to determine the best possible prescription for the patient.  What makes this part of the exam sequence difficult for the patient is the subjective nature of the process.  The patient is asked to make a choice between two offerings.  The two offerings may both look a little blurred to the patient, making it a difficult choice.  So, what is a patient to do?  Here are some suggestions to make it easier for a patient to sit through the exam process and come out with a more exact prescription.  
  • Chose the lens offering that represents the "lesser of two evils".  What I mean by this is that the image presented to the patient is often artificially blurred by the placement of an additional lens in front of the eye.  This additional lens does blur the image to a certain degree.  While neither choice may be perfect, if the patient chooses the lesser of two evils the patient will be consistent and the doctor will be able to arrive at an exact prescription. 
  • Some choices are very clear and easy to make and others will be more difficult.  Just go with the flow.  When the difficult choices are presented, understand that the doctor will retest you from different directions to make sure you are consistent in your choices.  
  • The end point, believe it or not, is when the patient cannot tell a difference between the choices presented.  This can be confusing for the patient, but a perfect answer is, "I can't tell the difference....or they are "the same".  In this case, the doctor will choose the least powerful choice for the prescription.  All attempts are made to make sure that the prescription is not too strong.  
  • Some patients  do better with the process if an eye drop is placed into the eye to help control the patient's focusing.  Your doctor will make a decision as to whether this is necessary during the exam process.  
  • What about when you pick up your new prescription?  How long should it take for a patient to adjust to a new prescription?  This is a variable issue.  Some patients will adjust to a new prescription immediately.  Others may need anywhere between a few days to a few weeks to adjust.  Be sure to communicate with your doctor if you are having trouble adjusting to your prescription.  The laboratories that make the prescriptions will allow for the doctor to adjust the prescription if a patient is having difficulty.  Some patients do better with a prescription that is not full strength.  Others prefer a full strength prescription.  Your doctor wants you to have the clearest and most comfortable prescription possible.  Be aware that there is a time limit if the prescription has to be remade.  I had a patient that came to me a year later and said that they did not like the prescription that had been written.  Unfortunately, this is way past the warranty period.  Please let the doctor know in a timely fashion if you are having difficulty and the problem will be solved.
If you have any additional questions regarding the above material please feel free to communicate with me.