THE eyes are one of the most important parts of the body and it is important they are in tip-top health.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting your eyes checked and tested on a regular basis.
How often should I get my eyes tested?
Opticians say that everybody should have regular eye tests – regardless if they wear glasses or not.
The NHS recommends you should visit your local optician once every two years to have your eyes tested.
This is because the tests can pick up on many different health conditions before they show symptoms.
But if you have pain in your eyes or your vision isn’t what it should be, you should make an appointment with your optician straight away.
What happens during an eye test?
There are various different checks opticians carry out during an eye test.
Usually they start off by blowing a gentle puff of air into the eyes to test the internal pressure and will also use a special machine to test if you are long or short sighted.
They may also take a picture of the back of your retina to make sure there is no damage.
Opticians will also shine various lights into your eyes and test how they focus, which will show if you need glasses.
Why do I need my eyes tested?
Having your eyes tested means that an optician can tell whether you need to wear glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision.
They also check the overall health of the eye and can detect conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Eye test can also help diagnose other health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and brain tumours.
When should children have their eyes tested?
At birth, babies will usually have their eyes tested and again by a health visitor at six weeks.
Their eyes are also checked as they develop by health visitors to make sure they have no problems with their sight.
Experts then recommend that at the age of three, kids should have their first proper eye test to check they can see properly before they start nursery or school.
After that, they should have an eye test every two years, the same as adults, and they are free on the NHS.
How much does an eye test cost?
For people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, most will have to pay for an eye test at their local opticians.
The price of a test varies but can cost anything from £10 to £30.
In Scotland though, all eye tests at NHS opticians are free.
Can I get a free eye test?
There are people with certain conditions who are entitled to a free NHS eye test in England and Wales.
- Children under 15
- Children who are 16, 17 or 18 and are in full-time education
- Those who are over 60
- People who are blind or partially sighted
- Patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
- People aged over 40 who have a family history of glaucoma
- People who receive certain benefits including income support, income based jobseeker’s allowance and pension credit.
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Do drivers need to get their eyes tested regularly?
The gov.uk website outlines all of the specific eyesight requirements for driving.
To be safe on the roads, you must be able to read a car number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres.
You can do so with glasses or contact lenses if you require them.
As eyesight can change over time, drivers are urged to get regular eye tests to check their vision.
Department for Transport stats show that seven people were killed on the roads as a result of “uncorrected, defective eyesight”.
For this reason, experts advise motorists to get their vision checked every decade.