For a lot of people out there, you probably have not been to a proper eye examination in Malaysia and Singapore even though you wear glasses. Yes, you heard me right. And you might wonder – how on earth could I get my prescription glasses if I didn’t get my eyes tested first?
Refraction ≠ comprehensive eye examination
So all this while those ‘free eye tests’ you went for, should not really be considered an eye test in its own right because refraction alone does not provide you with a clear picture of your general eye health!
What is refraction?
Refraction is part of a full, comprehensive eye exam to determine your glasses prescription (your refractive error). You wouldn’t bee able to see out of your eyes clearly, be it up close or far away, if you have some sort of refractive error. This is usually determined by first sticking your head to a machine where you’re asked to look straight ahead at a hot air balloon, and then showing you a sequence of lenses in a dark test room.
However, a lot of the ‘eye tests’ that you might have been to merely involved refraction. And it is very important for you to understand that there’s much more to an eye test than just the refraction part. In fact, an ‘eye test’ that just involves refraction should more appropriately be regarded as a ‘sight test‘ because it never involves checking the health of your eyes!
What is a comprehensive eye examination then?
A proper eye examination is primarily carried out by an optometrist. It includes a whole range of tests like determining any refractive error (prescription), checking the health of the anterior of your eyes (cornea, sclera etc), the media (crystalline lens, aqueous humour, vitreous body) and the back of the eyes (retina).
A comprehensive eye examination should, by right, incorporate tests to check your vision/eye sight and the health of your eyes. However, what most ‘sight tests’ are missing out are the range of tests to check for any eye anomalies/diseases like glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, dry eyes etc.
And it’s worth noting that your eyes are not necessarily healthy even though you think you can see clearly out of your eyes because most eye diseases do not really carry any symptoms until they start stealing your sight/vision away from you. And that’s why you should get your eyes checked routinely wether or not you think your vision is okay.
So where can I get a proper, comprehensive eye examination in Malaysia and Singapore?
Very simple. You just have to make sure that the practice you are going to get your eye exam done provides such comprehensive eye exam and the person who’s gonna test your eyes is a competent and fully qualified eye care practitioner (optometrist) as regulated under Optical Act 1991 Malaysia. There are online tools to help you determine if that particular professional is really a qualified registered optometrist.
Alternatively, a lot of practices nowadays have set up their own professional websites. You can simply check out their websites using search engines like Google and see if the eye care services they offer are comprehensive like what I just said.
There are more and more qualified optometrists in Malaysia and Singapore in these few years as opposed to many years ago since more optometry degrees have been rolled out, and thus you should really make sure that you are getting your eyes examined by qualified eye care practitioners for the sake of your vision.