Frequently Asked Questions

Does Christopher McMahon Quality Eye provide an up-to-date service?
What will happen in my eye test?
How do I choose the right frame?
How do I get contact lenses?
Can I sleep in my contact lenses?
Are there any problems with contact lenses?
Why would I need reading glasses?
Why should I have my child's eyes tested?

What can I do for dry eyes and what is Blepharitis?
What is Astigmatism?
What are Cataracts?
What is Glaucoma?
How does Diabetes affect vision?
What is Macular Degeneration?
What is Pterygium?
What is Keratoconus?


Q. Does Christoher McMahon Quality Eye provide an up-to-date service?
A. Our commitment to our patients is to remain up-to-date with any changes in optometry. We aim to provide quality eye care using current techniques and state-of-the-art computerised equipment. We provide our patients with only the best advice about their eye health and any need for spectacles or contact lenses. If you have any questions, please contact us. It is a pleasure to discuss with you any of your specific needs or questions.

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Q. What will happen in my eye test?
A. Firstly, we ask you about the problems you are having with your vision. Eye pressures are taken to guard against glaucoma. Retinal photographs and ultrasound like scans of the optic nerve and macula are taken with an OCT (Optical Coherence Tomographer). This represents state of the Art Technology for detecting glaucoma and macular degeneration, the two most common sight threatening eye diseases.

We then look at the back of your eyes (your retina) for any signs of eye disease as well as conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Binocular vision is tested to make sure your eyes work well together. If glasses or contact lenses are required for your clearest vision, we will show what difference it makes to your vision and a prescription is given to you. Eye tests are Bulk Billed under Medicare and there is an additional out of pocket fee of $55  for the retinal imaging and OCT scans.
If you have any questions, please contact us as we are only too pleased to be of any help.

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Q. How do I choose the right frame?
A. Choosing the right frame is made easy at Christopher McMahon Quality Eye Care. Our carefully chosen team are all experts in their field. You will find that they make choosing a frame simple and enjoyable. Using your face shape, your preference for colours, your lifestyle and your prescription, our staff will quickly find a selection of frames that not only fit perfectly, but also look stunning. You will find our range of quality frames, carefully selected from around the world, very extensive and different. We specialise in luxury eye wear.

Even if you are not looking for a frame right now, please come in and enjoy a coffee while one of our team members shows you the frames that will best suit you. Your Christopher McMahon Quality Eye Care team will ensure that choosing your frame is a pleasure and that your vision is perfect. And it's reassuring to know that all our products are covered by our unique 2 year warranty - that's how confident we are in the quality of our frames!

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Q. How do I get contact lenses?
Contact lenses provide freedom from spectacles and allow you to enjoy life and leisure to the full. To get contact lenses, firstly, have your eyes tested. This is covered by Medicare. We will discuss all contact lens options that apply to your prescription and your needs. Often we are able to give you a complimentary pair of contact lenses to enjoy for the day.

If you wish to proceed, a detailed contact lens fitting is done. This ensures the final contact lenses are tailored to fit your eyes and your lifestyle. This fitting is covered by Medicare in some instances, depending on your prescription. We will let you know beforehand if any fees are incurred. We teach you how to insert and remove your lenses and how to look after them. Regular check up visits are necessary to ensure healthy eyes and clear vision. These visits are either covered by Medicare or included in the fitting fee. No extra fees are incurred. If you would like to know more or would like to try a complimentary pair of contact lenses, please contact us - we are only too pleased to look after you.

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Q. Can I sleep in my contact lenses?
A. There is now a type of contact lens available that can be safely slept in for 1 month. Sleeping in contact lenses does slightly increase the risk of complications - so it means more frequent check-ups. However, they are generally cheaper than daily wear contact lenses. Imagine the freedom of having clear vision all the time - even on waking in the morning! If you're interested in sleeping in your contact lenses, come in and ask us for a complimentary trial.

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Q. Are there any problems with contact lenses?
A. Contact lenses allow us to enjoy our lives to the full and give us freedom not afforded by spectacles. However, to minimise the risk of sight-threatening infections, it is imperative that contact lens wearer obey several rules:

  1. Always wash your hands before touching your eyes or lenses.
  2. Always clean and sterilise your lenses as directed after removing them from your eyes.
  3. Do not over wear or sleep in your contact lenses (unless they are specifically designed to be slept in).
  4. Clean your contact lens case with warm soapy water and a toothbrush then boil it for 5 minutes once a month.
  5. Allow your case and its lids to air dry during the day.
  6. Always remove your contact lenses and seek the advice of an eye care or medical practitioner if: a) your eyes become very red: b) your vision becomes blurry; or c) you have a painful eye. Contact a hospital casualty department if this occurs in the middle of the night.
  7. Always present for routine six monthly aftercare visits at your optometrist.
  8. If you swim in your contacts, replace them or sterilise them when you get out of the water.
  9. Never put saliva on your contact lenses.

Serious eye infections are a minimal risk if the above rules are followed. To ensure continued enjoyment and healthy eyes, look after your contact lenses and your eyes. NEVER BECOME COMPLACENT!!

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Q. Why would I need reading glasses?
A. Most people require reading glasses in their 40's, even though they may have had perfect sight all their lives. Why? Inside our eyes there is a lens that focuses our vision. This lens is soft and supple. When we want to see something up close (like a newspaper), the focusing muscle inside our eye pulls and causes the shape of the lens to change. This enables us to see close objects clearly. As time goes by, the soft lens becomes harder and less flexible, (just as a piece of bread becomes harder as it becomes stale). This slow process continues over the years and is called sclerosis. As the lens becomes harder, the focusing muscle is no longer able to make the lens change shape, even though the muscle is still strong and works well. This means we cannot see close things clearly. This blurred vision up close is called presbyopia. Reading glasses are required to restore clear near vision.

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Q. Why should I have my child's eyes tested?
A. There is nothing more precious to us than our children. Vision is their most precious sense. An eye test ensures that their eyes are developing in a healthy manner and that each of their eyes has the clearest vision possible. It is also imperative to ensure that the eyes work well together. This ensures that children appreciate a true three dimensional picture of the world around them. Normal development of the eyes and vision is essential to gain good reading skills and all that is required in the complex process of learning. Learning difficulties and problems with reading can result if children's vision is not perfect. This is why it is necessary for every child to have a full eye examination as a baby and then through their toddler and schooling years. Eye examinations are covered by Medicare. If you have any questions about your child's vision, please contact us.

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Q. What can I do for dry eye and what is Blepharitis?
A. Dry eye is often caused by your eyes not producing enough tears. The dryness is made worse by evaporation of tears from your eyes. Symptoms of dry eyes include itching, burning, soreness, grittiness and red eyes. The discomfort of your eyes can be reduced by the use of the artificial tears. These are available without a prescription. Place one drop in each eye frequently throughout the day and whenever you have any of the symptoms listed above. Ideally, the drops should be used as a preventative measure for developing the above symptoms, not just used when the symptoms start.

Typically dry eyes will be worse when watching television, reading, driving and in smoky or air conditioned atmospheres. It is important to realise that artificial tears are not a cure for dry eyes. Nor are they a quick fix. They provide temporary relief of your symptoms. Dry eye is a condition that sufferers will always have to some degree. As such, the use of the artificial tear drops must be consistent and long term for you to receive their full benefits. Artificial tears contain no drugs. You may use them as often as is required. Dry eye condition is complicated by inflammation of your eye lids (Blepharitis). Blepharitis is characterised by red, swollen lids and matter stuck to the lashes. This can be greatly improved by keeping the eye lids very clean and by using artificial tears frequently.

There is no cure for dry eye conditions or this type of lid inflammation (Blepharitis). But they can be controlled and your symptoms alleviated by doing the following three things daily:

1. Hot compresses
Fill a covered bowl with hot water. Sit somewhere comfortable, for example, in front of the television. Place a clean wash cloth into the hot water. Take care not to burn your skin - do not boil water or heat cloth in a microwave oven. Apply the hot compress against the closed eye for 15 minutes. The first five minutes of the application will loosen material stuck to your eyelashes - after that the heat works to soften the oils in the eye lid glands, allowing them to flow better. As the cloth cools, re-heat it in hot water. You can do one eye at a time or both at once.

2. Lid Hygiene
After hot soaking, remove material from your lids by gently scrubbing the upper and lower lid margins with a moist q-tip, a wet washcloth or a pre-medicated eye scrub pad called Lid Care or Steri lid - available at our practices. Gently pull the eyelid away from the eye. Try to look away from the eyelid you are cleaning - i.e. if you are cleaning the upper lid then look down. Use side to side motion to loosen the material caught in the lashes. Complete the cleaning session by smoothly sweeping in one direction to remove debris. Do this hot compress and lid hygiene every day. It will take 3 weeks before any significant improvement is noticed.
Note: Perform eyelid compresses and cleaning before applying any eye medications.

3. Artificial Tears
Use artificial tears frequently throughout the day and whenever you have an itchy, burning eye. Use only one drop at a time. You can use artificial tears as many times as you like each day. Preservative free artificial tears are best (e.g. Cellufresh, Systane, Thera Tears or Bion Tears) - also available at our practices. Foods rich in Omega 3 nutrients are also valuable in treating these conditions (e.g.Thera Tears Nutrition capsules).

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Q. What is Astigmatism?
A. Astigmatism is a type of vision defect that can be corrected with spectacles, like long-sightedness and short-sightedness. It results from the front surface of the eye being "egg" shaped, rather than hemispherical, like a tennis ball. If the front of the eye is hemispherical, then everything we see will come to focus at the one point. But if the front of the eye is egg-shaped, then what we see will not come to focus at only one point. As a result, it will be blurred and distorted for both things far away and things up close.

To correct astigmatism, spectacles are worn that have one power running vertically and a different power running horizontally, corresponding to the two main axes of the "egg". The spectacles might not have to be worn all the time, but they will improve vision both far away and up close. If you have any questions about astigmatism, please contact us.

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Q. What are Cataracts?
A. Cataracts produce progressively blurry vision. Just as a spectacle lens provides us with clear vision, we have a lens inside our eye which gives us clear vision. With time this lens becomes cloudy. Hence, when someone has early cataracts, excellent lighting is essential to be able to read. Cataracts are not dangerous. Generally cataracts are nothing to worry about and should be looked upon as merely an inconvenience. When the cloudiness reaches a stage that it is interfering with a person's lifestyle, the lens is removed by an eye surgeon. A new plastic lens is put in its place, giving clear vision once again. Usually this can be done under a mild anaesthetic at the eye surgeon's practice. Following surgery, spectacles may be required to give perfect distance and near vision. During an eye examination we will examine the lens inside your eyes and discuss your options with you if a cataract is detected.

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Q. What is Glaucoma?
A. Glaucoma is an eye disease which if left untreated will seriously and permanently affect vision. Our eyes are like small balloons filled with water. Just as you can gently press a balloon with your finger to feel how hard it is, you can gently press on the side of your eye with your finger to feel how hard it is. This is termed the 'eye pressure'. If there is too much fluid filling the eye, the pressure increases. This increased pressure pushes against the delicate nerves at the back of the eye and damages them. Vision to the sides is first affected and slowly progresses towards the centre. Generally, with the most common form of glaucoma, there are no symptoms, so it is often known as the sneak thief of sight .

The side (or peripheral) vision can be tested by our optometrist with a 'visual fields test' using state of the art computerised technology. Eye pressure can also be simply measured by our optometrist during your eye examination. Our optometrist will also look at the nerves at the back of your eyes to ensure they are healthy.

OCT (Optical Coherent Tomography) represents state of the art technology for detecting glaucoma and is performed in every full eye examination at our practices. The results of all of these tests will determine if someone has glaucoma. Whilst there is no cure for glaucoma, it is generally easily treated and controlled with eye drops if it is diagnosed in its early stages. These drops reduce the eye pressure. If glaucoma goes undetected and is allowed to progress to its later stages, it is very damaging to the vision. Any damage incurred, cannot be reversed, so regular eye tests are very important.

You are more at risk to developing glaucoma if you are:

  • Over 40
  • Significantly shortsighted
  • Diabetic
  • Related to someone who has glaucoma

We would be glad to discuss your glaucoma test results with you.

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Q. How does diabetes affect vision?
A. Diabetes can have a devastating effect on vision. If you have diabetes it is important to have an eye test every year. At this eye test drops are put in your eyes to make the black part of the eye (the pupil) larger. This means your vision will be blurred and you will be very sensitive to lights for about six hours. It is a good idea to bring a driver with you. Diabetes can affect the strength of the blood vessel walls. This might cause some of the blood vessels at the back of the eye to leak, like a hose with a tiny hole in it. If detected early, this can often be treated (sometimes with a laser), ensuring your vision remains clear. Diabetes also increases your chances of developing cataracts, glaucoma and sometimes double vision. It is important to have your eyes examined every year. Normally, we will send a report to your doctor. If you would like to know more, please contact us.

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Q. What is Macular Degeneration?
A. Macular Degeneration (also called Age Related Maculopathy or "Hardening of the Arteries behind the Eye") is a progressive eye disease that affects the central vision. Just as the film at the back of a camera gives us pictures, the retina, which forms the lining at the back of our eyes, sends pictures to our brain, giving us vision. In Macular Degeneration the very centre of this picture (called the macula) becomes damaged.

Q. Can Macular Degeneration be treated?
central vision. The side (or peripheral) vision is not affected. Make a tunnel with your fingers by curling your fingers into a loose fist or hold a cardboard tube to one eye and look through it. It is only this vision in the very centre of our visual field that is affected by Macular Degeneration. This is, however, the most important part of our vision. It is the vision we use when we look at the television, read or look at someone's face.

There are 2 types of Macular Degeneration: dry and wet. The end result, in terms of the vision, is the same with both wet and dry Macular Degeneration. However, dry Macular Degeneration tends to progress very slowly and at present there is no effective treatment. Wet Macular Degeneration, on the other hand, can progress very rapidly and represents an urgent situation. Some forms of wet Macular Degeneration can now be treated by regular injections of a drug that helps stop the progression of this eye disease.

Someone with Macular Degeneration can be helped by prescribing very strong reading glasses that magnify print or by using a magnifying glass. Very good lighting is essential for someone with Macular Degeneration. We would be glad to discuss how we may be able to help you or someone you know who has Macular Degeneration.

Q. What can I do to reduce the risks of Macular Degeneration?
A. Risk factors for developing Macular Degeneration include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Smoking (increases risk x4)
  • UV Radiation
  • Hypertension
  • Diet with high levels of Trans Fatty Acids (eg processed vegetable oils)

Reduce the risks associated with Macular Degeneration or help slow the progression of Macular Degeneration by doing the following:

  • Stop smoking
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Have regular eye tests
  • Maintain good blood pressure control
  • Eat fish, nuts and brightly coloured fruit and vegetables
  • Take Macu-Vision antioxidant tablets - the ARED Study (October 2001 Archives of Ophthalmology) study showed that taking supplements containing antioxidants and zinc reduced the risk of progression of intermediate and late stage macular degeneration by over 20%. Macu-Vision is available at our practice.

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Q. What is Pterygium?
A. A pterygium (pronounced te-ri-gi-um) is a triangular shaped lump of scar tissue that grows on the front of the eye. This is as a result of too much ultraviolet radiation and dry, hot environments. Hence they are common in Queensland. A pterygium is not cancerous. It is often confused with cataracts which is a clouding of the lens inside the eye. A pterygium may become uncomfortable, sore, or red. Artificial tear drops may relieve these symptoms. We can give you a free sample. If it is allowed to grow too large, a pterygium may interfere with the vision. So it is important to have it checked yearly. If a pterygium continues to grow across the front of the eye (the cornea), it can be removed by an eye surgeon.

Q. How can a pterygium be prevented?
A. There are a few easy preventative measures that you can take to protect your eyes.

  • Avoid the sun - particularly between 10am - 2pm when the UV levels are the greatest.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear sunglasses - particularly the wrap-around style or side shields as they block UV radiation that comes from the sides.

If you would like to know more, please contact us.

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Q. What is Keratoconus
A. Keratoconus is an eye condition affecting the front part of the eye called the cornea. The condition is usually first noticed in the teenage years and is often associated with atopic conditions such as asthma and dermatitis. It can also be inherited from previous generations. The cornea should be an even thickness across its width. In keratoconus, the centre of the cornea becomes thinner than the edges of the cornea. This results in the thin centre bulging forward in an irregular manner, much like a blown up balloon produces a nipple if there is a thin section of rubber at one end. This makes the vision distorted and blurred. Because the shape is distorted, often it is not possible to give clear vision with glasses. In these instances, only hard contact lenses will give clear vision. Occasionally the cornea can become so thin that it may require a corneal graft. This is unlikely and is the reason anyone with keratoconus should have their eyes examined at least yearly.

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