Frequent Asked Questions
(Please click on the links at the bottom of each answer for further information. This information can be translated to other languages on web browser , such as Google Chrome; although the translation might not be perfect.)
The world is changing rapidly in every aspect of our lives, such as new technologies, inventions, news, information, laws, courses, syllabus, and guidelines. Changes are in fact part of our daily lives; many things become more complicated and often cost more. Many people still applying their obsoleted knowledge and thinking for this new world will find many things unbelievable. Misunderstanding and distrust can be developed if there is no respectful communication with an open mind.
Evidence-based specialty optometrists, who are at the forefront of their fields, need to embrace new information, guidelines, and technologies to provide up-to-date consultations, management, and outcomes for their clients. They should be respected because they are trying to achieve this in the best interests of their patients. Good practitioners provide the best and latest options for their patients to choose from according to their individual knowledge and experience. Patients should ask and clarify any doubts before making an informed decision.
1. What are the differences between bulk-bill and private bill optometric examination?
Simply speaking, they are highly different quality services and can have tremendously different outcomes. Due to the low-cost nature of bulk billing, only a basic level of optometric services can be provided with restricted resources. While private billing provides practices with more resources which makes providing optimal to advanced levels of satisfactory optometric services possible. The service differences are similar to the public and private eye or other medical clinical services. You need to experience both the services and the outcomes, such as after using the optical appliances or treatments for a period of time, before you can appreciate the differences. The differences based on the information from our patients who have been to other optometrists are summarized below. Insisting on unsatisfied low-cost services is similar to sticking to cheap food with poor taste. Knowledgeable and experienced chefs with excellent skills take time to select and prepare ingredients and cook before a fantastic cuisine can be achieved. The chefs are the most critical factor for the best result; the ingredients are secondary. Similarly, knowledgeable and experienced optometrists with excellent skills take time to find out the roots of your problems is the most critical factor to achieve the best outcome for you; optical appliances, such as glasses and contact lenses, are secondary. However, "Put the cart before the horse" and "Take the branch for the root" are extremely common errors.
2. Why do different optometrists or practices charge different fees and/or gaps for my case?
The reasons are:
i. No practices are exactly the same.
Different practices have different overheads due to different locations, sizes, levels of equipment and technology, levels of services, experience and expertise of optometrists and staff.
Specialty optometric practices are usually equipped with advanced equipment and technology for the advanced specialties.
Experienced and specialty optometrists and practices have higher overheads. Therefore, their fees and charges are higher to cover their higher costs.
ii. Every optometrist is different.
Different optometrists have different knowledge, skill, experience, specialties and management options to offer.
Same as other professionals, experienced optometrists have higher remuneration than inexperienced graduates because they can help patients to avoid costly mistakes and have better outcomes.
Specialty optometrists need to spend extra time and expenses on acquiring and updating advanced knowledge and skills by attending courses, workshops, conferences, and also paying membership fees to additional professional associations and societies. Due to these factors, most optometrists are general optometrists who do not specialize; they work for chain stores that advertise bulk-billing consultations only.
Like other fields of medical science, optometry knowledge and specialties are evolving rapidly. General optometrists do not have in-depth and the latest information on specialities and might not even know what the specialties can offer to their patients. Therefore, they often don't refer patients to specialty optometrists for the best professional diagnosis, management and outcome.
iii. No consultations are exactly the same.
Same case with different histories, information, wordings, presentation, concern, severity, and questions from the patient and/or companion(s) will require different testing, equipment, explanations, management options, advice and duration of consultations.
In optometric practice, many different tests require the patient to fixate on a target inside equipment for a few minutes. Therefore, patients might feel that they are the same tests if they do not know the details of the test, such as its purpose, the quality of the equipment and the result. Most importantly, it is the expertise and experience of the optometrist involved to conduct the test, analyze the results and provide recommendations and advice for the best management plan and outcome.
Consultations for a second opinion have longer case history, require more thorough examination, testing and explanations.
In general, consultation fees are time, equipment and expertise based.
iv. Medicare benefits could be different.
Medicare Benefits Schedule for optometry services have different items with different conditions and restrictions.
For example, second comprehensive initial consultation, within 36 months for a patient who is less than 65 years of age and once every 12 months for a patient who is at least 65 years of age, of a previous comprehensive consultation (item 10907). Medicare benefit is only about $30.00 currently, which is only about half of the benefit of the first comprehensive initial consultation, and which is about $60 currently.
The full Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) listing of updated fees can be found at MBS Online. (http://www9.health.gov.au/mbs/search.cfmq=optometry+schedule+fee&Submit=&sopt=S)
v. Health fund benefits could be different.
In general, most health funds do not pay any benefits for optometric consultations.
Some high levels of cover might rebate on some testing, such as the Package Bonus of Medibank Private and AHM might pay benefits on some digital retinal scans. Some overseas medical covers might rebate on some consultations.
Different health funds have different rules and conditions. You need to check and submit the claim for the rebate after paying the consultation in full.
In summary, more complex cases or patients with more concerns require longer consultations for testing with more equipment and specialty expertise, and also more explanations due to more management options. It is an unchanging truth that higher costs incur higher fees. In reality, cheap but high quality products and services simply do not exist!
We often see patients purely focus on the fees rather than the outcomes; and they miss out the best management options and outcomes for themselves and their families. Usually they have been seeing general optometrists who do not offer specialty services because either they do not know or can't offer them. They think or were told that all optometrists are the same and provide the same levels of services. For example, a layman who has heard $2 burger sold in well known fast food chain would think $20 burger sold by a local cafe is over-priced before he actually see and taste the big and tasty gourmet burger from the cafe. Similarly, we all need to try and experience the outcomes personally before we can actually tell or appreciate the differences of different quality services.
3. Why do some optometrists charge higher fees? Does Medicare allow this?
In general, optometrists and other healthcare practitioners who charge higher fees are those who know that basic services are insufficient to provide good outcomes to all patients. They invest their precious time and money in further study and training, purchasing more equipment that requires extra space and expenses to provide professional and specialty services that otherwise become unavailable. They are the practitioners who are interested to solve problems satisfactorily, willing to spend more time dealing with all levels of complexity, practice real optometry, prevent the extinction of valuable skills and knowledge, and maintain the high standard of the profession. They deserve the respect and support from the public rather than misunderstanding. It is understandable that some cases might not be able to afford to pay the higher fees for good services. In fact, a management plan can be discussed and tailored made according to individual requirements and budgets. High-standard professional services incur higher costs which cannot be covered by low fees, and this is not sustainable and possible. Be polite, respectful, honest, open, and reasonable to the people around you, including your local optometrists and other service providers, this can help you to develop and maintain a good relationships in the community. Otherwise, you might need to spend more time and petrol traveling further away to seek providers who provide the impossible services below costs without cutting corners. Furthermore, the healthcare provider offended might be the only person who can help you with conditions developed in the future, such as emergency conditions or conditions that required specialty services. In fact, patients should look for practitioners who are interested in their cases, have abilities to solve their problems satisfactorily, and be happy to pay them for their professional services and expertise. In contrast, low fees lead to insufficient time and resources, and poor professional outcomes which you might not even be able to be aware of due to lack of experience and no comparison.
Truly, our specialty optometrists often conduct a comprehensive eye examination that combines general and advanced vision and eye health examination in one single visit to provide the patient with an efficient and holistic approach, especially for cases with multiple issues. For optometrists who just provide consultations for general vision and eye health, they will need to refer the patient to see another 2 practitioners for their individual initial and possibly subsequent consultations, one for advanced vision, e.g. specialty optometrist, and another one for advanced eye health, e.g. ophthalmologist. That means one single consultation from us saves you at least 2 additional initial consultations and hundreds of dollars, time and hassles. Secondly, there are waiting periods for seeing each of these professionals; it would be a few months or even longer. Lastly and most importantly, different professionals have different experiences and could have different diagnoses and management for the same case. Therefore, consensus might not be achieved, confusion might arise and timely best management might be hindered.
In fact, for the time our optometrists spent on complicated cases with multiple issues, the fees we charged are barely able to cover the costs involved. Kindly understand the high overheads for running a professional practice with costly equipment.
Please also read the Patient Feedback section by clicking this link: Terms & Conditions | gloryeyecare
4. Why doesn't Medicare fully cover my eye test and pay for all types of optometric examinations?
Basically, our government and Medicare make this policy and they are the best organisations to answer this question. In fact, no optometrist can provide you the exact answer. Optometrists just follow their rules and regulations.
5. How much are the glasses and contact lenses?
For prescription glasses and contact lenses, we need your latest written prescription and all your requirements before we can tell you the costs and prices. Different frames, lenses, and contact lenses have different prices and they can vary a lot. Nowadays, there are many different qualities, features, fitting, and sizes of products. Nowadays, it is nearly impossible to quote without confirming the exact specifications of products. If you go to a Toyota dealership and ask "How much is a car"? They will tell you that depending on the exact specification you want, they range from $10,000+ to around $150,000+ for a used car to a branded new top of the range of Landcruiser with all the extra features. Similarly, a TV in The Good Guys ranges from $100+ to around $40,000. It seems to become pointless to ask or answer such questions. Just to confirm your budget range and get the features needed is the way to go.
We do not produce any products and we are like a middle person to help you choose the products which suit your requirements and budget and to avoid problems from poor quality cheap products. We can order all grades of products, from budget ones with the lowest prices to those with the best quality. In order to provide you with a close estimate quote, we need you to come in personally either with your latest written prescription or have an eye examination done by our optometrist. We do not provide any quotes over the phone because we feel that it is no point to provide you with starting prices. Most importantly, we will try our best to find products that your requirements and budget.
We often have problems contacting people due to different reasons. Please come in or call us if you don't receive our responses.
6. Why do spectacles cost so much?
This is the similar question as why we have to pay over $1000 per year for water usage. Isn't water free from sky? It is because there are a lot of costs involved even the natural resource itself is free, such as the costs involved in Water Corporation for collecting, storing, testing, managing and supplying the free resources. Many people do not understand the costs of running business and companies are substantial.
The frame price includes:
purchasing costs, such as frame cost, freight, GST and transaction costs; and
labour costs for sourcing, handling, inspecting, labelling, cleaning and maintenance; and
professional service costs for frame recommendation, selection, ordering, freight to lens supplier, fitting and ongoing adjustments; and
other costs such as spectacle case, accounting, business, management, insurance for covering loss or damage during transit and handling and warranty.
The lens price includes:
purchasing costs, such as lens cost, fitting, freight, GST and transaction costs; and
professional service costs for lens recommendation, selection, measurement, calculation, sourcing, ordering, freight, inspection and power verification, and fitting; and
labour costs for cleaning and returning to supplier for fault if any; and
other costs such as lens cloth, and those similar costs included in the frame price.
In addition, Medicare consultation benefits are not sufficient to cover the actual costs of eye examination. Revenues from spectacles are required to subsidize the costs of the consultation.
A satisfying cuisine needs good and fresh food as ingredients, and more importantly, the expertise of the chef. Similarly, a satisfactory optical solution needs both good products and the expertise of dispensing optometrists who provide extensive eye examination and also professional optical dispensing. However, the profession of optical dispensing was de-regulated in the 1980s in Australia. That means anybody untrained and unregistered can dispense spectacles without following the professional guidelines to provide these important services. Many companies employ unqualified and inexperienced people to provide these services. In addition, not all optometrists dispense spectacles, especially those who only conduct eye examinations. They don't have time to update their knowledge and skills and gain valuable hands-on experience on so many different products available on the market. Our experienced dispensing optometrists constantly update the information, gain hands-on experience and compare different lenses, frames and related products extensively to find the best products to suit individual cases, not just based on the marketing information from the suppliers.
Our exceptional thorough eye examination and over 30 years of dispensing expertise helped us fully understand your visual needs and requirements, recommend you the right frame, lens type, and features, measure, calculate, order, adjust the spectacles and provide instructions on collection. All these are very important and needed to be done professionally and precisely in order to achieve the best vision and comfort. If the eye examination and prescription are done by us, ongoing guidance, instructions, support, and prescription warranty for adaptation issues can be provided for achieving the best and smooth outcome.
Be aware that discounters often advertise their cheapest products with the lowest quality and minimal services. In fact, clients told us that they are not much cheaper if any, because of their high overhead costs. We often see cases who were not satisfied with the cheap products elsewhere and need to buy another new lenses or even frameto solve their problems satisfactorily. If buying good products from experienced professionals in the first place, more money and time will be saved with satisfaction but not confusion and fluctuation!
We have a very wide range of products, from the lowest budget to the highest elite range, to suit individual requirements and budgets. We pride ourselves on our range of frames, about 2,000 in-store and 20,000 from suppliers, and our access to every available lens and treatment in Australia and the world. We also provide a 12 or 24-month manufacturer warranty on our frames and lenses. Most importantly, we provide 3-month prescription warranty from the date of prescription if you ordered frame and lenses from us.
8. Why do color or cosmetic contact lenses without power need a prescription to purchase?
According to the government, all contact lenses are medical devices whether they have prescription or non-prescription, including all cosmetic and novelty contact lenses without power. Information can be found on https://www.productsafety.gov.au/products/health-lifestyle/cosmetics/cosmetic-novelty-contact-lenses. It is because they contact with eyes and corneas and have risks of causing severe corneal ulcer and permanent blindness within a few days if they are neither fitted professionally nor handled and used correctly. Further information can be found on https://webeye.ophth.uiowa.edu/eyeforum/cases/171-pseudomonas-keratitis.htm. Therefore, a valid contact lens prescription which specify the exact contact lenses must be required because almost all contact lenses have different lens design and fitting. However, similar to all other medical devices, they are very safe to use if professional advice and instructions are followed.
Some merchants might not be aware that selling contact lenses without power, without a valid prescription is illegal and heavy penalty will be incurred.
9. Why can't I use my spectacle prescription to buy contact lenses or vice versa?
Contact lens prescription and spectacle prescription are two different prescriptions because of the way they correct vision. Contact lenses are in contact with eyes whereas spectacles are further away, therefore, the powers are different. In addition, the contact lens prescription also include details about the shape, dimensions and material of the lenses that accurately fit your eyes to ensure visual and physical comfort and to avoid potential eye health conditions.
10. Should I buy contact lenses online?
Online retailers offer discounts on bulk orders and the convenience of ordering from home. It might not advisable to buy contact lens online because studies have shown incidences of contact-lens related corneal infections is higher in people who order contact lenses online. The information can be found on: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cxo.13082. Regular checkups are important to ensure the best vision for comfort, efficiency and safety, and also to ensure that your eye health is good without any signs of silent diseases which can potentially cause serious consequence such as permanently lay-off of contact lenses and even permanent visual impairment. Visual impairment or blindness can have a huge negative impact on your income, medical expenses, mobility, independence, lifestyle and future. More and more jobs and professionals require good vision and eye health as pre-requisites, such as policemen, armies, drivers, pilot, electricians, etc. In addition, we order our contact lenses from our suppliers in Australia; while the source and handling of the contact lenses from online retailers are usually unknown. Our Australian suppliers are responsible for any issues and provide warranties; while online retailers are mostly not able to provide such services and warranty. For some contact lenses, we might be able to match or closely match the online prices. For convenience, orders can be placed via emailing or ringing us, credit card payments can be accepted over the phone and delivery can be arranged. Nevertheless, it is wise not to risk your precious irreplaceable eyes and vision for any reasons.
If you order from a foreign business, please also read the answer of "Should I support local or foreign business?" below for understanding the economic impact of your decision.
11. Should I buy spectacles online?
Buying spectacles online may be save you some money, but how about quality, style, fit, warranties and after-sale services?
Here are some problems of buying glasses online, some of the information can be found on: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/ordering-glasses-online.
You don't get to try the glasses on or have professional(s) help you in person.
It is hard to measure your own pupil distance and impossible to measure your own monocular pupil distance accurately, which you need to order your glasses. Some experts says it's like trying to cut your own hair.
A large study found about half the online glasses had the wrong prescription or other problems. Most of the online glasses are manufactured in developing countries where they don't need to follow Australian Standards or any other professional standards.
An incorrect prescription may give you blurred vision, tired and sour eyes, regular headaches and other problems.
Many lenses, especially with progressive, bifocal, extended focus, anti-fatique, aspheric and high power lenses, require other fitting measurements that need to be exact and measured in person when you try on the frames.
Most websites do not take health insurance.
Product quality is a common problem. We have seen online glasses became defective or broken with a couple of months with normal handling. The online retailer said that they only provided 30-day warranty. In contrast, the manufacturing warranty for our quality frame and lenses is between 12 to 24 months. In addition, for extra peace for mind, we provide prescription warranty for 3 months if the eye test is done by our optometrist.
It is usually difficult to return the glasses or get a refund.
The online glasses usually take long time to arrive because they are usually manufactured in the developing countries with poor logistic and infrastructure in order to minimize the costs. They might take weeks or months to arrive due to multiple custom clearance and delay.
No fitting and after-sale services can be provided due to their remote and cost cutting nature. Therefore, you need to pay additional fees for the services provided by your local service providers. Cheap low quality products require more frequent after-sale services. Therefore, you might end up having frequent problems and paying more as a whole.
Initially, it might look cheaper to buy spectacles online; however, it might end up causing you more hassles, frustration, time and money eventually!
If you order from a foreign business, please also read the answer of "Should I support local or foreign business?" below for understanding the economic impact of your decision.
12. Should I buy spectacles overseas?
Buying spectacles overseas may be save you some money, but how about warranties and after-sale services?
In some countries, there might be no professional guidelines or standards to govern the services and products. The retailers, product suppliers and lens laboratories might provide you sub-standard services and products. That might be the reasons why they can provide you lower prices.
We often see patients complain about their spectacles from overseas.
An incorrect prescription may give you blurred vision, tired and sour eyes, regular headaches and other problems.
Most health funds do not reimburse any benefits for spectacles bought overseas.
Product quality could be a problem.
It is usually difficult to return the glasses or get a refund.
No after-sale services can be provided. Therefore, you need to pay additional fees for the services provided by your local service providers. Cheap low quality products require more frequent after-sale services. Therefore, you might end up having frequent problems and paying more as a whole.
At first, it might appear more economical to buy spectacles overseas, but it might cause you more troubles, resentments and money in the end!
Please also read the answer of "Should I support local or foreign business?" below for understanding the economic impact of your decision.
13. Should I go to a locally owned independent optometrist, or national, multinational or foreign business like chain stores or online businesses?
Choosing local independent professional optometrists has tremendous professional and economic benefits to you and your community development.
1. Patient Care and Professional Outcomes - Most independent optometrists are locally Australian owned by the optometrists who operate them. Therefore, they have professional freedom to provide their patients clinical excellence, continuity of care, personalised service and quality products in order to ensure patient care and professional outcomes always comes first.
2. Increased Expertise - Local independent optometrists can provide an expert opinion about the products that you’re purchasing because they have to be experts in their field to compete.
3. Product Knowledge - Local independent optometrists are well informed about their products and know what they are selling. Because they know their patients, they can easily adjust their inventories to include the goods and services local people want to buy”.
4. Diverse Products - Local independent practices carry inventory you might not find at national chain stores. Local practice operators choose products based on what their clients want and often carry unique items from local suppliers.
5. Cost Effective - Sometimes prices at local businesses are better because they don’t have the overhead that larger stores may have and they may be more willing to find products to meet your budget.
6. Personal Connection - Getting to know the practice owners is a great reason to go local. It’s their business, they are the decision-makers and they build a personal relationship with their clients.
7. Better Service - Local practice owners do what they can because they are passionate about their products and typically take more time to get to know their clients. They often go the extra mile to help you and to ensure you’re satisfied.
1. Increase Community’s Wealth
Less Fund “Leakage” - Local businesses tend to buy and sell with other local businesses, keeping money moving in our local economy. With national or multi-national firms, a percentage of that profit ‘leaks’ out of the community, the state or even the nation. Only 14% of money spent at chain retailers stays in the local economy, compared to 48% of money spent at local independent businesses. Money spent at local businesses stays in the local economy, while 86% of money spent at chain retailers leaves the community. Therefore, shopping locally benefits more than just store, as that money is reinvested back into the community, enriching other businesses and consumers alike.
Local Investment - Local businesses are less susceptible to national downturns and more likely to work harder to stay open. Local ownership means that important decisions are made by people who live in our community and feel the impact of those decisions. They tend to do their best for their communities.
Improve Local Economic Potential - Money spent locally recirculates and more money stays in the community. The cycle of creating and spending wealth locally creates a strong local economy. Every additional dollar that circulates locally boosts local economic activity and ultimately, tax revenue. Shopping at chain retailers or online marketplaces like Amazon actually detracts from the economic potential provided by local businesses. For money spent at a locally-owned business, 1.6x more capital stays in the local community than when spent at a chain business, and 6x more capital stays in the community than went spent at an online marketplace such as Amazon.
Support Future Growth - Experts agree shopping locally is the best way to show pride in your city and help protect the businesses that make our city unique. The more interesting and unique you community, the more we will attract new neighbours, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone!
2. Improve Quality of Life
Reduce Environmental Impact - Residents of neighbourhoods with more local businesses log 26 percent less automobile kilometres. Locally owned businesses make more local purchases, requiring less fuel for transportation, which generally means less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.
Conserve tax money - Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure and less maintenance required, and more money available to beautify your community. It’s important to note that Amazon Marketplace sales, which account for over half of Amazon retail sales, are not required to collect sales tax. In 2018, this led to an estimated $5.5-7.0 billion in uncollected sales tax, which could have reinvested to benefit local economies.
Improve Community Infrastructure - Local businesses contribute significantly to the local tax revenue which funds local community and pays for roads, schools, police, fire protection and other vital services.
Create Community and Build Relationship - We are a transitory society so people don’t always have a connection with the communities where they live. I would encourage people new to an area to ask the locals where they shop.
Support for Non-profits - Local businesses support good work in our community. Local business owners and their employees contribute financially and volunteer their time to support local non-profit and community organizations and charities that serve and help local people, which directly impacts the quality of life for the broader community. Studies show that non-profits receive 250% more support from small businesses than large ones.
Strength Whole Community - Improvement of local economy, personal finance, community infrastructure and quality of life of local people will strengthen the whole community.
3. Improve Personal Income & Wealth
Create More Good & Sustainable Local Jobs - When money is spent locally, business productivity rises creating a stronger business climate and bringing more employment opportunities. Local business owners often sell local products, which helps preserve the community’s distinction and create more jobs. These also help create higher-paying jobs for your neighbours, such as teachers, firemen, police officers, and many other essential professions. Studies show small businesses accounted for 64% of the net new jobs created. In contrast, Amazon transactions in 2018 resulted in the displacement of 900,000 retail jobs, showing the economic impact of buying locally in strengthening employment levels and creating more future jobs in the community.
Opportunities For Entrepreneurship - Nurturing local business provides opportunities for creativity and entrepreneurship for economic growth.
Increase Wealth - More job and business opportunities most likely improve income and finance for you and your family. Better infrastructure, more community services, and healthy and happy community will increase the demand of houses in your suburb, therefore, the value of the your house will rise. As a result, your finance and wealth increase for better life and retirement.
In contrast, not spending your money locally will have the opposite effects and consequence which reduce the income, well being, quality of life, wealth and happiness of yourself, your family and community. In summary, supporting your locally-owned small businesses has huge positive impact in building your community and your family. Therefore, "Think Big, Shop Small".
More information can be found on the webpages as below:
14. What is covered by Manufacturer's Warranty?
Manufacturer's warranty covers manufacturing defects only but not any wear and tear, mistreatment, consumable parts and breakage.
What Is Covered
Not caused by any mistreatment:
Frame Defects: Oxidation or discoloration; dislodged jewels, logos, trims, screws, nose pads, temple tips or parts.
Lens Defects: Peeling coatings.
What Is Not Covered
Superficial damage (such as paint and coating) and scratches.
Exposure to excessive heat or cold.
Prolonged exposure to water.
Exposure to chemical, including suntan cream, oils, salts, excessive sweat, hair treatments, super glue.
Rough handling, mistreated, stepped on, run over, in a crash.
Tampered by you or other people.
Wear and tear.
15. Eye Pain: When to see a therapeutic optometrist?
When your eye hurts, it’s hard to think of anything else. Whether it’s an itching, burning, shooting pain on the surface of your eye, or a deeper, throbbing pain inside your eye, eye pain can be excruciating and hard to manage. Should you see a therapeutic optometrist?
What can cause a painful eye? It could be allergies, illness, injury, infection, or a foreign body in the eye. Symptoms vary, but if you have any of the following symptoms, you should consider calling for an appointment with a therapeutic optometrist.
Irritation caused by contact lenses
Swelling or puffiness
Sometimes, though a painful eye is too severe to allow you to wait for an appointment. Trying to wait it out could cause the problem to get worse and might even result in a loss of vision. Seek urgent or emergency medical care as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms.
Severe eye pain with headache, fever, or sensitivity to light
A sudden change in vision
Nausea or vomiting
A foreign object or chemical in your eye
Halos around lights
Trouble moving your eye or an inability to keep it open
Blood or pus coming from your eyes
If you have an urgent eye condition, and it’s after regular office hours, you may have no choice but to go to the emergency room. If you can catch the problem before offices close, though, it’s a much better idea to see a therapeutic optometrist. Emergency rooms don’t always have the right equipment for examining the eyes, and they might not have doctors or nurses who specialize in caring for eyes. Because a misdiagnosis could potentially result in vision loss, and because you’ll probably be given a referral to an eye doctor anyway, it’s typically better to skip the ER and go straight to a therapeutic optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Even if it’s after hours, you can book an emergency appointment online on our website or call us and leave a message on our answering machine. There are situations, though, in which an emergency room trip is warranted. If you’re injured in other places in addition to the eye, if your eye has been impaled, if you are bleeding from the eyes, or if you’ve had a head trauma, it’s smart to head to the Emergency Department. What you should never do is try to treat painful eye conditions on your own, without the professional medical advice.
16. Why do optometrists can't screen or check patients for every disease and vision disorders?
This is the similar question as "Why doctors can't screen patients for every disease?". The simple answer is impossible and unnecessary in real practice; optometrists and doctors can only focus on the chief complaints and concerns in that particular visit and provide solutions to address the concerns. For details, you can find the answers on https://www.kevinmd.com/2011/05/doctors-screen-patients-disease.html.
17. Why do optometrists repeat some tests in different visits?
Our body and environment interact and both are dynamic in nature; therefore, our vision and eye health vary and fluctuate even though we might not notice. For example, heartbeat rate and blood sugar level vary and normally we can't feel it ; if it is outside the normal range, doctors might need to repeat the measurements on another day or even multiple visits before a diagnosis can be confirmed. Similar situations happen in optometric practices, especially experienced optometrists who provide specialties such as therapeutic optometry, dry eye, glaucoma diagnosis, and management. Some common tests that require two or more measurements on different days include:
1. Refraction - our vision and prescription might fluctuate and vary on different days due to factors such as eye rubbing, eyedrops, dry or watery eyes, contact lens wear, tired eyes, diabetes, unstable or poor subjective responses, and many other eye conditions, general health conditions and medications.
2. Dry or watery eye assessments - the quantity and quality of our tear films can be very unstable and variable due to humidity of the environment, wind, air-con, heater, emotion, tired eyes, dust or foreign bodies, contact lens wear, eye or general medications, oral contraceptives, sleep, eye infection, and many other factors.
3. Intra-ocular pressure measurements - the pressures of our eyeballs can also fluctuate a lot due to factors such as glaucoma, corneal diseases, iritis, and eye and general medications. Assessing the pressure in some eyes every two hours over an eight-hour period might be required, this is called phasing, to confirm the diagnosis for proper management. (Phasing-v3-r12-2024-JPST-PIL-01157_Upload-version.pdf (dgft.nhs.uk)
4. Visual field measurements - these tests measure and map our retinal sensitivity to different light levels of central and/or mid-peripheral vision in order to provide valuable and important information for the diagnosis of visual pathway disorders such as retinal or optic nerve diseases, glaucoma, macular disorders, strokes, and brain tumors. Due to the learning process and the subjective and variable natures of our vision, this requires at least two reliable results on different dates to draw a conclusion. Therefore, this involves at least two or more visits.
In summary, our vision and eye health are complicated and affected by many variables and factors. Therefore, patients' objectivity, understanding, cooperation, compliance, and patience are critical for optometrists to provide sufficient services for achieving the best outcomes.
18. Can vision and optical prescription fluctuate, or change temporarily or rapidly?
Absolutely yes! If sudden death can happen, therefore, vision can change suddenly. Our body, eyes, and environment interact and they are all dynamic in nature; therefore, our vision, eye condition, and prescription vary and fluctuate. Normally, we might not notice it. The links and interactions between vision, eye condition, and prescription are very complex. Some of the common causes are known below; and ongoing research needed to be done on this topic.
1. Anterior (front) segment eye diseases: lid diseases (droopy, inflammations, in-grown eyelashes), tear film disorders (dry or watery
eyes), corneal diseases (surface disorders, foreign bodies, abrasion, infection, edema, keratoconus), cataracts, ciliary muscle disorders
(ciliary spasm, tired eyes), trauma (excessive rubbing), allergies, .……
2. Posterior (back) segment eye diseases: vitreous floaters, macular diseases (diabetic macular edema, staphyloma, pucker, hemorrhage,
degeneration), retinal diseases (glaucoma, retinal artery or vein occlusion), tumors (retinoblastoma, choroidal melanoma), trauma, ……
3. Extraocular (external eye) neuromuscular disorders: muscle palsies, ……
4. Orbital disorders: inflammation (cellulitis), hemorrhage, growth (tumors), ......
5. Visual pathways and brain diseases, such as transient ischemic attack (carotid artery temporary blockage), optic nerve diseases (optic
neuritis), cranial nerve palsies, brain aneurysms or tumors, visual migraines, ……
6. General health disorders: diabetes, hormonal changes (pregnancy), multiple sclerosis, ……
7. Eye or general medications: eye drops or ointments, many general drugs (sulfa-based, acetazolamide, indapamide, and
sulphasalazine), hormonal medications (oral contraceptive, contraceptive implant), ……
6. Other: eye or brain trauma or treatments (surgeries), hyperbaric chambers, ……
19. Different Optical Prescriptions From Different Optometrists
The optical prescriptions written by different optometrists can vary for the same patient, even when the patient has not experienced significant vision changes.
i. Elements of a Prescription
Essentially, an eyeglass prescription contains three distinct numerical values: sphere, cylinder, and axis. There is a fourth, called the ‘ADD’ power which is for bifocal or progressive lenses.
The ‘SPHERE’ is the number that indicates whether you are nearsighted (myopia) or farsighted (hyperopia). The axial length of the eye determines myopia and hyperopia. In plain terms, the measurement from the front of the eye to the back of the eye. Myopia is written with a (-) sign in front of the power and hyperopia is written with a (+) sign in front of the power.
The ‘CYLINDER’ is the number that describes the amount of astigmatism that the eye has. Astigmatism is a measure of the curvature of the eye.
The ‘AXIS’ is related to the cylinder curvature and shows the direction of where the eye is curved.
These measurements are your eyeglass prescription numbers and are used to make glasses. When glasses are manufactured according to the prescription, there is a tolerance range of how far off the prescription can be from what is written. Generally accepted tolerance ranges are within 0.25D (diopters) of the prescription written for the sphere and the cylinder. The axis, measured in degrees, can vary depending on how much cylinder power there is. Generally, the higher the CYL, the smaller the tolerance for the axis.
Since the visual tolerances are small, that means that eyeglasses must be made very accurately to the prescription. This accuracy is very true, but why, then, do so many people still have difficulty with adapting and seeing with their prescription glasses? There is not a lot of information about the prescription variance from one optometrist to the next, but it is often seen that prescriptions for spheres and cylinders differ up to 0.75D of power (0.50D outside of the tolerance range). That is a large difference and definitely can affect how we see.
ii. Why are there differences in prescriptions for the same person?
So how could it be, that the same patient could get two different prescriptions from two different optometrists, even with eye examinations on the same day? The truth is, there is NOT ONLY ONE set of prescriptions that works. Human eyes can adjust and adapt to small differences in prescriptions because it is actually the brain that is interpreting the image that is given by the eyes. The human brain wants to see as clearly as possible and will try to work through any prescription that is put in front of the eyes.
If you’ve ever tried another person’s glasses on, you may have noticed that the images are very distorted or blurry; or worst, you may have even felt sick to your stomach. This feeling is your brain telling you that the prescription is not correct. If the prescription happens to be very close, you may think your friend’s glasses might just work for you. This feeling is your brain adapting to the power of the glasses.
There are other factors causing different prescriptions as well, such as how tired you are, the time of day, and health conditions such as diabetes can all affect the prescription the optometrist is giving you. Remember that in an eye exam, the optometrist is asking you to respond to choices that are presented to you. If you are tired, can’t focus well, or have fluctuations due to medical conditions, your responses may not be accurate. As optometrists, we need the patient to help us determine the prescription; it is not just the optometrist giving you the eyeglass numbers.
Your prescription measured by the optometrist is a snapshot of your vision at that exact time. If you don’t go to the optometrist often, it’s highly likely your prescription has changed. The more you test your vision, the more vision data you’ll have to compile the most accurate prescription possible.
iii. How would I determine whether my glasses are right for me?
So, as someone who wears glasses, what can you do if you are not seeing properly out of your new prescription? First, you should give it about 1 week for single-vision glasses or 2 weeks for multifocal glasses to see if you adapt. For every change in the sphere, cylinder, and axis, it can take some time for the brain to feel comfortable and re-focus the eyes. If you are not adapting after the period, I would recommend making an appointment with your optometrist for a glasses re-check. Your optometrist can check the prescription and the tolerances to make sure the lenses were made according to the prescription.
Prescribing glasses is a science, but it is also somewhat of an art. Optometrists have to take into consideration many other factors besides just the prescription.
20. Have You Been Given The “Wrong” Prescription From Your Optometrist?”
You’ve just had your routine annual eye examination, to ensure your eyes are healthy and that your vision hasn’t changed. However, it is common to have your prescription on your glasses adjusted or updated every couple of years. You’ve just placed the order for your brand-new pair of glasses. You try it on for the first time, and it doesn’t feel right. You start to wonder; have you been given the “wrong” prescription?
Every time you pick up a new pair of glasses, regardless of how much the change in your prescription is, we all had to “adjust” to the new script. If the glasses don’t feel right at the first instance, then how does one “adapt” to these new lenses? For more in-depth discussion surrounding the need to adapt to your new prescription here’s another article after this.
Determining if the prescription is WRONG or INCORRECT
An incorrect prescription doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong. In a nutshell, an utterly wrong prescription is when you’ve picked up somebody else’s prescription. As you can imagine, there’s absolutely no chance of your eyes ever getting used to a wrong prescription. It’s like being given the wrong medicine for your ailments which were meant for another patient (you just won’t get better). This rarely occurs, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. With most things done these days electronically, your optometrist might have entered your prescription wrong and ordered the wrong pair of lenses (or even picked up another customer’s order with the same name).
If that was the first time you’ve had an eye examination with the particular practice, there’s no prior history of your prescription to go by and verify its validity. Hence in this situation, the error would only be realized upon picking up your glasses. To eliminate this, most optometrists would request your previous prescription (if not an existing patient) or, at least have your current glasses with you so we can estimate what prescription you were given.
An incorrect prescription is much more common and one of the main reasons for patients not being able to use their new glasses. An incorrect prescription is simply, the prescription of your lenses isn’t precise or accurate enough to meet your vision demands. This could also be an error of dispensing a different lens type advised by your dispensing optician, which doesn’t suit your needs.
An example of this is you wanted glasses to help you see better at night whilst driving. The optician ordered a pair of reading glasses for your instead of distance driving glasses. As a result, when you pick up your new glasses, they don’t function as well as you would’ve imagined them to be.
This also includes how your new multifocal glasses are made and cut to fit your frame. Because multifocals have a varying prescription from the top part of the lens compared to the bottom part, it needs to be well aligned to your eyes. If the glasses are sitting too high up, your eyes would be looking through the bottom part of the lens, which causes issues with your distance vision and even just walking around.
You would think the primary cause of having an incorrect prescription in your glasses is from the eye test itself. Your optometrist determines your prescription not only from your responses but also by taking into consideration, your previous prescription, the nature of your prescription, your visual issues and requirements.
Determining a prescription for a patient not only takes the knowledge of optics but also understanding subjectively the individual responses made by the patient during the eye test. Hence, your prescription from one optometrist may vary slightly from another. It doesn’t necessarily mean it is incorrect. The differences are often minuscule and negligible in the sense that you wouldn’t notice the difference between the two prescriptions from different optometrists; both prescriptions would provide you with a clear vision, but you may prefer one over the other.
Both the experience of the optometrist to determine the nuances in your responses during your eye test and the skill and knowledge of lenses from the dispensing optician are essential to provide you with a pair of glasses to suit you.
The Bottom Line
Our optometrists have practised in a wide variety of settings from rural Australia to independent and corporate optometry practices. Therefore, our optometrists provide industry insights that are often relevant, when picking a pair of lenses tailored to our patient’s individual needs. Although it is not a national requirement, our optical dispensers have undergone extensive training. They are qualified to dispense your glasses accurately, reducing the “adaptation” period and the peace of mind that your eyes and your vision are looked after by qualified individuals who are passionate about their profession.
21. Why Do I Need to “Adjust” to My New Prescription?
It is your annual routine optometry appointment, which involves looking at the prescription of your glasses or your contact lenses. Your optometrist has advised you that there has been a change in your prescription and updating your prescription lenses is recommended. You make your way to your dispensing optician, which provides you with expert lens advice, taking into consideration your lifestyle, your occupation, and perhaps your hobbies. Whenever you’ve been advised that there has been a prescription change, it is mentioned that you might need some time to “adjust” to your new prescription. What does this mean? Why is it every time you need to take some time for your eyes to “adjust”?
Understanding “Why” Your Prescription Changes
Whenever your optometrist measures your prescription, we always compare your old prescription with your updated one. There are several factors that may impact changes to your prescription, such as uncontrolled diabetes, advancing cataracts or pregnancy. Your glasses and contact lens prescription also “changes” between different optometrists or practitioners.This is called inter-practitioner variability. The environment in your prescription is taken, and the equipment used also could give a “different” reading. This means that if you had your eye exam elsewhere last year, by choosing a different optometry practice and optometrist, your prescription could vary. Similarly, if you use different scales to measure your weight, there could be subtle differences in the readings. By definition, differences in readings, no matter how slight is considered a “change.”
Is a change in prescription warranted?
Suppose you’re monitoring your weight. In the morning, it measures 65.0kg. On the same day in the evening, you measured your weight again, and it measures 65.1kg. Is that considered a change?
In optometry, your optical lenses are measured in power units of 0.25D. Depending on the optometry practice, and the technique of obtaining your optical prescription, you can see your prescription could fluctuate in the order of +/- 0.25D. A general rule of thumb is that each 0.25D variation gives you the ability to read an extra line below on the eye chart. So whilst 0.25D of change in your prescription is small, it cannot be neglected without further investigations and tests during your optometry appointment whether updating your current prescription is beneficial.
Understanding “functional” changes in your prescription
At Glory Eyecare Optometrists, we understand during your routine eye tests; it is often that you might make an “incorrect choice.” Double-checking your answers is our standard; however, we make the judgment whether we change your current prescription depending on whether the new prescription would actually make you see better, and with more comfort. This is what we call a change in function.
There is little point in getting new glasses based on a minor change that you won’t notice the improvement in vision throughout your everyday living. Sometimes, a small change in vision could significantly improve your comfort of vision. In this case, the benefits of updating your spectacles will be discussed before we proceed in ordering your lenses.
The Bottom Line
Think about the time you bought shoes or any time of clothing that you wear. You might notice shoes across different brands, and shirts and pants with different styles fit and feel differently when you try them on despite the sizes being the same. It may take a couple of days for you to feel comfortable in your new shoes.
A similar process happens when you pick up the glasses. If your vision is clear (the prescription), it may take you a couple of days to feel comfortable wearing the glasses confidently.
This adaptation process is especially important for patients requiring multifocal lenses since there is a vast range of different multifocal lenses you can get on the market with varying quality.
It is unlikely you know the type, the brand of multifocals you were given. Perhaps they didn’t work the first time, and you were told to just put up with it. Being an independent optometry practice, we have access to a broader variety of multifocal lenses that would tailor suit your vision requirements. Whether it is for sports, work or study, our experienced dispensing optometrists and qualified optical dispensers are ready to discuss lens options that are best suited to your needs.