If you've been for an eye test in recent months, you already know how subjective it can be.

It can feel a bit like a polygraph.

The optometrist places various lenses in front of your eyes and you’re asked to describe what you see to help determine your prescription.

I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion I’m being asked the same question in different ways. A lapse in concentration can result.

And chances are if you aren’t eventually guessing you’re confused by the line of questioning– and will likely end up with a pair of glasses that aren’t quite right for you.

While you may not be able to get away from the guessing games (your eyes can be so deceiving), thanks to modern technology you can get a more accurate assessment these days.

At the new Mellins-Zeiss Vision Centre at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping is the world’s most advanced precision-eye technology. A customised visual analysis is performed to create an optical map of each eye in just a few minutes.

“Think of it as a fingerprint,” said optometrist Bernardine Flynn.

The first machine felt similar to the test I took for my driver’s licence; the second shot light into my eye; and the third blasted air at my pupil. None of which was painful, and then I was done.

The information gathered in those few minutes is phenomenal. The eye isn’t a smooth surface and we were able to see the plateaus, how light moves inside the eye and even the back of the eye.

The test results in a unique, precise profile of each eye.

The optometrist was able to instantly rule out cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration and tell me the extent of any vision loss I might have via a prescription, up to the nearest 0.01 (instead of 0.25 as in older eye tests), which in my case was very small.

The sophisticated data helps the experts produce optical lenses that provide clear night and twilight vision without irritating reflections or halo effects, excellent contrast, depth of field and more clear vision.

The subjective test follows as a back-up but can help to detect other issues such as colour blindness.

Thereafter you can chose a comfy frame, with the help of more technology, an odd pair of glasses which you pose with for one or two pictures. These help alleviate a problem I often have: glasses gone askew or sliding down my nose.

Flynn explained: “This exact fitting uses centration technology which allows the position of the frame and lenses to be calculated to the nearest one tenth of a millimetre, ensuring that your new precision lenses provide 100% performance.”

Any one lens can have various functions as well, such as assist with night vision, computer glare or UV light.

We all take our sight for granted and few of us go for eye exams regularly, although if you have medical cover, it makes provision for tests – but without our eyesight life would be very different.

An eye test will also check for any eye injuries, abnormalities and early signs of eye conditions. Optometrists are often also the first health care professionals to detect chronic systemic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol.

So make use of the cutting-edge technology on your door step and get tested.



A good pair of spectacles is an important investment. After all, you will wear them for a long time. Mellins i-Style (www.mellins.co.za), a leading national chain of optometrists, has the following useful tips on how to select the perfect frame for your face shape.

Today, optical lens manufacturers offer a wide spectrum of attractive frame designs. You need to find the one that best enhances your look, but the dizzying array of choices can make the decision difficult. What are the best shape, size and colour for you? Is rimless eyewear better? Following a few basic rules will help you make the perfect choice.

“The one general principle you might want to remember is to create visual contrasts,” says Meriek van den Berg, an optometrist at Mellins i-Style. “The shape of your frame should actually be in contrast to the shape of your face to create a balance. This brings the overall appearance into harmony.”

Here are useful tips to select the best optical frame to complement the shape of your face:

* Oval faces: Time to celebrate! You have the perfect face for spectacles and it will be easy for an optometrist to offer you a wide range of options. Virtually all frames will complement your look. However, beware of frames that are too generously proportioned on the sides or very small round spectacles. The best choice will be a rectangular design.

* Round faces: Van den Berg recommends you try a distinguished frame that emphasises angles, ie, square to slightly rectangular designs. These will give a round face added contours. Be bold and have fun with colours. Spectacles with a wider frame would also look good on you. Avoid soft, fine and rounded frames.

* Triangular or heart-shaped faces with broad foreheads and pointed chins: Your best choices are oval or rounded frames – or softer and flatter designs in subtle tones. The visual division of your face length by these spectacles will enhance your look. Do not choose frames that are too small or too colourful.

* Longitudinal or Rectangular Faces: Your chin and bottom jaw are your most distinguishing facial features. Spectacles will definitely enhance your look, as it visually divides your face. Your best options are spectacles with a wide bridge and low-sitting ear pieces. Oval frames will complement your face as long as you do not choose a style that is too small for you. Rimless spectacles with subtle contours could also be perfect for your face.

* Square Faces: In your case, the objective should be to stretch your face visually using your spectacles’ design. Chin, bottom jaw and forehead are your unique features. Try slightly round frames that are not too small and have a flat line design. Rimless spectacles might also provide a perfect fit. Avoid small spectacles and those that underscore corners.




Make sure you are seated comfortably, rest your arms on a flat surface, close your eyes and then place the palms of your hands over your eyes. It should be completely dark. Now breathe slowly and deliberately in and out for one or two minutes. Once you have done this, slowly take your hands away and open your eyes again.

Four-direction exercise

Seat yourself comfortably on a stool and hold your head up straight. Then look as far as you can in all four directions for two or three seconds each: up, down, left and then right. Repeat three times. Important: move only your eyes, not your head.

Eye socket massage

A gentle massage is very relaxing for the eyes. Using the tips of your thumbs, massage the area beneath your eyebrows – from the top of your nose to the edge of the eyelid – in circular motions.

Eye relaxation exercise

Sit up straight and stretch one arm out in front of your nose with the thumb pointing upwards. Now choose five objects: the tip of your nose, your outstretched arm, your thumb and two more object in the room that are further away. Look at each object in turn, resting your gaze on each object for a few breaths. Finally, use both eyes and let your gaze wander over the tip of your nose, your arm, your thumb and the two objects, finishing by looking into the distance.

Accommodation exercise

Hold your right index finger at eye level, about half an arm’s length from your eye. Hold your left index finger about 15 centimetres behind it. In a steady rhythm, look from one finger to the other. Do this for one minute.

Butterfly exercise (to prevent dry eyes)

Face forward with your head straight and relax your facial muscles and lower jaw. Then open and close both eyelids up to 20 times. Keep your muscles relaxed the whole time – your eyelids should move gently and effortlessly, like the wings of a butterfly.



Summer time is hay fever time. Many of us experience the dreaded allergies that cause red, itchy, watery or even swollen eyes. And for spectacle or contact lens wearers, the problem is even worse. The culprit: pollen. Many of our organs can be affected by allergic reactions, but it’s definitely the eyes that suffer most.

Choose sunglasses or prescription spectacles in wrap models and frames with broad sides to protect sensitive eyes against bright light, draughts and partly also against pollen floating around in the air.

Remember to clean your spectacles regularly, carpets and mats regularly or replace them with laminate or wooden flooring.

Wash your face and rinse your eyes several times a day, wash your hair before you go to bed, and sleep with the windows closed.

Do not undress in the bedroom, but preferably in the bathroom. There, the humidity produced by showers and baths prevents the pollen on clothing from flying around the room.

When you are driving, keep the car windows closed and have the ventilation system fitted with a filter.