During an eye examination, optometrists will use a series of tests as described on the "Eye Test" page. The aim of this is to determine whether you need any spectacle correction to help you see more clearly. The most common forms of vision correction needed are:
Normal - your eyes work well just as they are and no spectacles are required...Yet!
Short-sighted (myopic) - your long distance vision is not as good as it could be and spectacles may be needed for TV, driving, school/college board-work, theatre and possibly for general walking around vision depending on the degree of myopia.
Long-sighted (hyperopic) - long distance will probably be fine but you may be having symptoms such as tired eyes, headaches, blurring of vision particularly with close focus tasks such as reading, computer work and even just using your mobile phone. Again a simple pair of glasses for these tasks may make a world of difference.
Astigmatism - this is very common and typically is described as having an eyeball that is shaped like a rugby ball rather than a football. Basically if this is the case then imagine looking at a cross, the eye will focus either the vertical or the horizontal lines, but not both at the same time. Again, glasses will correct the difference and allow you to see clearly again.
Presbyopia - This relates simply to the natural aging of the eye and will affect everyone at some time during their lives. Typically, if you have "perfect" sight as a young person, then around the age of 40 - 50 years, the muscles of the eyes start to weaken and glasses become necessary to help with reading. This process gradually develops over a period of about 10 years and by the age of 55, has normally stabilised and the eyes will not change much after this stage.
As well as correcting your vision, optometrists are also trained to look for and identify more serious conditions that can affect the eyes. These include: