Have you ever wondered exactly how your optometrist measures you for the perfect glasses prescription? To offer you the entire story, we’d probably have to ship you off to optometry school. But—short of that—we can tell you, in this blog post, a bit about that process—and how we have absolutely revolutionized it here at Optique.
Soaring Above Common Refraction Testing
The term “refraction,” in this case, refers to the measuring of a patient’s prescription by neutralizing the lens system within the eyes. Depending on the type of prescription occurring in your eyes, you might be near-sighted, far-sighted, have astigmatism, have no prescription, etc. The “refraction test” tells your doctor if you need prescription lenses, as well as specifically what prescription lens you need to see properly.
The results of this test are used to diagnose the following conditions (and others):
- Myopia . . . more commonly known as nearsightedness;
- Hyperopia . . . more commonly known as farsightedness;
- Astigmatism . . . a refractive problem related to the shape of the eye’s cornea or lens, which causes blurry vision;
- Presbyopia . . . a condition related to aging, which causes your eye’s lens to have trouble focusing.
Importantly, the refraction test is only one component of a comprehensive eye examination. Refraction is usually the reason why patients present to the doctor, but sometimes the refraction is not the cause of a decline in vision. There are all sorts of problems that mask themselves as a change in prescription, but are actually much more sinister, such as a retinal detachment.
Problems with the Average Eye Examination
So the things we just mentioned are commonly checked for during a standard eye examination. But here’s a crucial thing you need to know about the average eye exam:
More than 99 percent of U.S. optometrists, when they perform a refraction, measure using lenses graded in steps of 1/4 of “diopter” (the unit of measurement of the optical power of a lens). But—in today’s revolutionary world of optometry—that degree of precision is rapidly being left behind. Here at Optique, we now measure to within 1/8 of diopter.
Why does that matter?
Because of how you and your eyes benefit from it. Using that significantly greater degree of precision, we can determine the nature of your vision much more accurately. And that leads to spectacle lenses that correct your vision with much greater precision.
In fact, this technique—along with the attendant expertise we offer you—can result in your vision, with corrective lenses, being BETTER than 20/20. (Normally, 20/20 vision is considered to be optimum, or perfect vision. People lucky enough to have 20/20 vision are able to read letters 3/8 of an inch tall from 20 feet away.)
Beware of Online-Service Claims
Unfortunately, the revolutionary equipment and techniques we’re using at Optique—which are at least 6 months ahead of virtually all other optometrists nationwide—are suddenly being touted by off-the-wall, start-up online services. These services claim they can, like Optique, measure your eyes to within 1/8 of diopter—simply by having you sit in front of your computer, as you do when you Skype! But think about it: Do you honestly believe that kind of online “refraction test” will produce the definitive results you receive from an in-person vision professional in an office tuned and calibrated for precision, such as those at Optique? The answer should be obvious . . . as should the highly suspect nature of virtually all online eye care services.
Wisdom from an Eye-Opening Book
When all is said and done, “that personal touch” in eye care is irreplaceable. And that’s what we bring you every time at Optique. Although we have highly sophisticated machines, they only complement the devoted professionalism we offer you. Every eyeglasses prescription we write is always a combination of the readings our machines measure, and the years of expertise we bring to them.
In their excellent book, The Fine Art of Prescribing Glasses Without Making a Spectacle of Yourself, Benjamin Milder, M.D. and Melvin L. Rubin, M.D, offer the following poem:
By now you know it is a fact,
That there are machines that can refract,
But this will always be true,
Complaints will come back to YOU.
In other words, the machines we use to test your eyes, and prescribe your glasses, are fantastic and revolutionary—in the specific ways we mentioned above—but they only give part of the story of what should be prescribed. For example, often times, what the machine measures and what we ultimately prescribe are vastly different. The brain can only handle a certain amount of change over time. If you have astigmatism, then you are familiar with the experience of picking up a new pair of glasses and becoming dizzy and watching straight lines appear curved. The expert decision of what and how much to prescribe only comes with years of experience.
Rising Above 20/20 Vision
Most patients who come to us would kill to have 20/20 vision. That’s why people find it so hard to believe Optique’s state-of-the-art techniques could allow us to move certain patients past 20/20 vision . . . to 20/15 or even better. As revolutionary as that sounds (and is!), we’ve already achieved it for numerous patients. We predict that, in the future, this will be a common outcome for many people. So we’re delighted we can offer it to some of our patients right now—months or years before others are able to.
Producing Lenses to this Degree of Precision
Finding an extremely precise and accurate prescription is only half the battle. The other half is producing lenses to this degree of specification. In the industry, there are standards by which most labs are held accountable, and there is some slop in the system. If a doctor orders a certain prescription, all labs are allowed to miss by up to 1/4 of a unit. At Optique, this is simply unacceptable. If we are taking the time and effort to find prescriptions to the nearest 1/8 of a unit, we wanted to make sure that our laboratory could produce lenses to this specification—and we have succeeded. Our laboratory not only has the capability to produce lenses to the 1/8 of a unit, but we hold them accountable to ensure each lens we receive is exact. If you decide to have your glasses made elsewhere or online, don’t worry, we can round off your prescription for them.