Rushda: A new survey coordinated by Which? has suggested that many people who get eye tests may be coming away with the wrong prescriptions and even damaging their health. For the study, a total of 39 eye examinations were studied by student optometrists posing as patients in different parts of the country. It was found that as many as 17 missed essential tests such as retinoscopy and ones for astigmatism, and questions about the patient's health and family history were left out, and hence weren't as accurate as they should have been. Prescriptions being accurate is clearly a very important issue as even if it's slightly wrong it can lead to side effects. Therefore what is most concerning is that as many as 7 of the examinations studied led to inaccurate prescriptions which may not only cause blurred vision in the patient but are likely to cause headaches as well. These results are disputed by The General Optical Council (GOC) regulatory body which insists that there are much fewer complaints than in previous years. In 2006-2007 there were 17.5m eye tests and only 129 complaints, which is a significant improvement from the previous year. They also stated that it is impossible for anyone to say whether key tests were missed out because each eye exam is tailored to the individual patient and so the examiner has to make judgements on what is required. The College of Optometrists advise that:
"It is for the practitioner to satisfy him/herself that procedures are included or excluded according to the patient's clinical need. There cannot be a one-size fits all approach to the eye test."The study also showed that many of the eye tests weren't as long as they should have been, with some even lasting under 10 minutes (30 being the advised amount). GUC advise that though they cannot check all the opticians' practices in the country, they do carry out regular checks. If a patient is concerned, they can ask how long the test will last in advance of the appointment. Finally, whatever the results of the survey, what is most reassuring by far is that in none of the tests were patients who did not require glasses prescribed them, this shattering a common myth that every optician will try and sell glasses!