Preparing for your eye appointment

When you call to make an appointment for your eye examination, it is important to briefly state the vision problem you are experiencing, if any. This allows staff to book you for an appropriate appointment. An eye appointment can take up to 3 hours, so it is important to bring some reading material, or something to keep you occupied whilst you wait. If it is an adult eye check, we advise against driving after the appointment if you have had your pupils dilated. It is a good idea to have someone with you to look after you or escort you home. Depending on your job, you may be able to go back to work after your appointment. Children can generally return to day care or school after their appointment.

Please bring with you:

At your appointment:

We endeavour to provide individualised care for all of our patients. As such, what will happen at each visit may differ. Below is a description of what you may expect to happen at your visit.

  • Once some initial paperwork is filled in, our paediatric orthoptist will call you through. An orthoptist is a university trained health care professional who will see you prior to you and your child seeing the paediatric ophthalmologist. The paediatric orthoptist will take a detailed history. You will be asked questions about your child’s general health and medications. The orthoptist will also check your child’s vision to look for loss of vision, or amblyopia, examine the eye muscles looking for any eye muscle imbalance, turning or lazy eye (strabismus) and perform 3D vision testing (binocular vision). The orthoptist may perform further eye testing if needed.
  • At most initial visits to the paediatric ophthalmologist, your child will require eye drops in his/her eyes. The eye drops dilate the pupil of the eye, to allow the paediatric ophthalmologist to examine the eye thoroughly.
  • Our orthoptist will then ask you to return to the waiting room to allow the eye drops to work. This normally takes about 20 minutes, but in some instance more time is required for the drops to work properly. The dilating drops will cause your child’s vision to become mildly blurred, and they may also complain of glare, or sun-sensitivity after the appointment. These symptoms are normal, and can last anywhere from 1-24 hours. Our paediatric orthoptists are highly skilled in making these visits happy and positive experiences for the child and family, and as such, most children manage very well with the eye drops. Please bring along a hat, and sunglasses for your child to wear after their eye appointment.
  • Once the eye drops have worked, the paediatric ophthalmologist will call you through. The ophthalmologist will examine the health and integrity of each of the structures of the eye, looking for such things as a turning or lazy eye (strabismus), causes of loss of vision or poor vision and will also test your child to see if glasses are required. More specialised testing is carried out on an individual basis, depending on the reason for your visit to the eye doctor.
  • Your ophthalmologist will advise you on a management plan, and whether further follow up is required.
  • Once some initial paperwork is filled in, our orthoptist will call you through. An orthoptist is a university trained health care professional who will see you prior to you and your child seeing the ophthalmologist. The orthoptist will take a detailed history. You will be asked detailed questions about your general health and medications. The orthoptist will also check your vision, examine the eye muscles, check 3D vision, and perform an assessment for double vision. The orthoptist may perform further eye testing if required, such as a visual field test, optical coherence tomography (OCT) to map the back of the eye, colour vision assessment, or prism adaptation testing.
  • The ophthalmologist will then call you through. At most visits to the ophthalmologist, you will require eye drops to dilate the pupil. The eye drops allow the ophthalmologist to examine the internal structures of the eye thoroughly. The ophthalmologist will examine your eyes for such things as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and muscle imbalances. The ophthalmologist may request further specialised testing be performed such as visual field testing, optical coherence tomography (OCT) to map the back of the eye, colour vision assessment, or prism adaptation testing.
  • The ophthalmologist will advise you on a management plan and whether further follow up is required.

Most patients who visit the eye doctor will require eye drops. There are many different types and purposes of eye drops which may be used by the eye doctor at your visit. Eye drops can be used to stain the front surface of the eye (cornea), to show scratches, abrasions, ulcerations or irregularities in the cornea. Eye drops can also be used to anaesthetise the cornea, and enlarge (dilate) or constrict the pupil. The most common form of eye drop used whilst visiting the eye doctor are anaesthetic eye drops, and pupil dilating eye drops.

Anaesthetic eye drops cause transient loss of sensation on the front surface of the eye (cornea), and generally have no side effects. The anaesthetic effect lasts for between 10 and 30 minutes.

Dilating eye drops enlarge the black part at the centre of the eye (pupil) and allow the eye doctor to examine the internal structures of the eye. When your pupil is dilated, the eye doctor is able to check the lens of the eye, and the retina at the back of the eye. The eye doctor will look for things such as Cataracts, Macular degeneration, Glaucoma, Diabetes, retinal detachment, eye tumours and infectious diseases. Dilating drops cause some blurring of vision, especially for reading and near tasks. It can also cause your eyes to be more sensitive to bright lights. This normally happens about 20 minutes after instillation, and can last anywhere from 1 hour up to 24 hours. The eye doctor and orthoptist will determine the strength and type of dilating eye drop which will best suit you or your child in order to minimise long lasting blurred vision. We understand that eye dilation can be inconvenient, as it may prevent you from driving and working for a few hours after your appointment. It may prevent your child from actively participating in classroom skills for a few hours.

After your eye appointment:

You or your child’s vision may remain blurred from the dilating eye drops for anywhere up to 24 hours. Most people find their vision returns to normal within 3 hours of the drops being instilled. Increased light sensitivity is normal for up to 6 hours after pupil dilation. A hat, sunglasses, or low lighting can help alleviate symptoms until the drops wear off.

Given the above suggestions, preparing for eye test at Sydney Ophthalmic Specialists makes you more comfortable and relaxed during your eye exam.

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