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Diagnostic testing and procedures FAQs

Brief descriptions providing insight to diagnostic testing and procedures

  • Why do I need to repeat the Humphrey Visual Field Test?
  • Field tests are used to monitor progression in conditions such as glaucoma, and so need to be repeated to check whether there have been any changes.
  • What is a Humphrey Visual Field test?
  • This is a test for your side vision. Many different eye conditions, such as glaucoma and optic neuritis can affect your peripheral vision as well as your central vision. Field tests reveal if there is any loss of side vision which is often not detected because we normally use our central vision. It is common to have to repeat visual field tests on a regular basis to check if there has been any change. Field tests take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
  • How many field tests can I have a year?
  • Your doctor may wish you to have more than one or several field tests during a year. Medicare will only rebate 2 field tests during a 12 month period, although some conditions require monitoring on a more regular basis.
  • What is Pachymetry?
  • This is a test to measure the thickness of the cornea (the front surface of your eye). It is important for diagnosis of glaucoma as it helps us to predict the ideal pressure for your eye.
  • What is Biometry?
  • This is the measurement of your eye prior, usually prior to Cataract Surgery. These measurements include the length of your eye and a measurement of the curvature at the front of the eye (the cornea). They are done using a variety of techniques including laser and ultrasound waves. Biometry is an integral part in deciding the power of the new lens that will be inserted into your eye during cataract surgery.
  • What is Fundal Photography?
  • It is quite common for your Ophthalmologist to want photos of the back of your eye. Often, one of the Orthoptists (or assistants) will do this. The photographs help your doctor to monitor the back of your eye and the different structures within it, so that they compare the photo with your eye at your next visit. The photo will often show your optic disc and your macula, two important structures at the back of your eye – feel free to ask questions about what you see in the photo.
  • What is OCT?
  • Optical Coherence Tomography is the one of the latest technologies that takes a topographical map of the back of your eye using laser scanning techniques. Depending on the area that your Ophthalmologist wishes to concentrate on, the test can look at your macula, optic disc or general retina. An OCT scan can monitor changes in macula degeneration, macula hole, and the nerve fibre layer that is effected in conditions such as glaucoma
  • What are Fluorescein Angiograms?
  • A fluorescein angiogram is a yellow dye test used to detect changes and abnormalities in the retina. The dye is injected into your arm and once in the blood stream is able to be photographed in the vessels that are in the back of your eye. Fluorescein Angiograms are used in conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and macula degeneration.
  • Are there any side effects of Fluorescein Angiograms?
  • After the angiogram your skin will be yellow and your urine bright yellow. Some people feel nauseous during the test itself.
  • Are there any risks involved in the angiogram?
  • Since a dye is getting injected into the bloodstream there is always a risk of you having an allergic reaction – ranging from a mild rash to a more severe life-threatening reaction. However, allergies to fluorescein are quite rare.
  • What minor ops do MetWest Eye Centre perform?
  • At MetWest Eye Centre we have a dedicated Minor Procedure room which is used for procedures such as chalazion removal, probing of tear ducts, removal of sutures and some excisions. Your Ophthalmologist will decide whether or not your individual condition is suitable for treatment in the Minor Procedure room or requires the use of our dedicated onsite Day Surgery.
  • What is Yag Capsulotomy?
  • After lens insertion during cataract surgery, the new lens that has been inserted into your eye can have a membrane that can slowly reduce your vision. This is not another cataract that requires surgery. The membrane can be taken away with laser – a painless procedure that does not usually need to be repeated.
  • What is a B-scan?
  • A B-scan is an ultrasound of your eye and its contents. It can be helpful in the diagnosis of conditions such as retinal detachment, and in the monitoring of some changes in the eye. Your eye is closed during the b-scan, and the doctor scans through your eyelid to look at the inside of your eye.
  • What is an Orthoptist?
  • An Orthoptist is a key member of the medical eye care team who prevents, investigates, manages and researches disorders of the eye and vision systems.

    The qualifications of an Orthoptist is a Bachelor or Masters degree in Applied Science - at least four years of University training.


Please visit our Glossary of Terms page for an explanation of terms used.