Why is an eye test so important?

Your eyes cannot be replaced. You will not necessarily have any symptoms or pain. The eye test can pick up very early signs of any problems; the earlier treated the better. The eye test can detect underlying health problems that you aren’t aware of, such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, some brain tumours and multiple sclerosis. The eye test will detect if your vision can be improved. You may just be used to seeing less clearly so don’t realise it can be improved upon. Good Vision gives a better quality of life. For children, it is essential that their eyes are functioning normally for them to perform well at school. Don’t accept that poor vision is due to your age. It may be possible to improve it further. It is important your vision meets certain legal standards for driving and certain occupations.

How often should I have my eyes tested?

Even if you are not aware of any problems you should have your eyes tested every 2 years. The eye test is a regular health check, which can detect underlying health problems as well as changes in your vision. It may need to be more frequent depending on you age and medical history. Your Optometrist will normally advise you when you should return for your next eye test and usually they will send a reminder letter to you.

Do I have to pay for an eye test?

The NHS provide FREE eye tests and help towards the cost of glasses for qualifying customers. Further information on whether you qualify for this support is available here. If you do not qualify for NHS support you will have to pay for your eye test, which should cost between £15 and £28. NHS eye tests are free in Wales.

Those in the following categories are entitled to an NHS eye test without charge and may also be entitled to a voucher to offset the cost of any spectacles or contact lenses prescribed: Children under 16 or under 19 still in full-time education. All those aged 60 and over and people receiving Income Support or Working Family Tax Credit.

Those receiving Disabled Person’s tax credit if aged 70 or less, it will have been taken off the maximum credit shown on their tax credit award notice. Those receiving an income-based jobseekers allowance (Contributory ISA does not count), Diabetics Glaucoma sufferers and those who are aged 40 and over and are the parent/brother/sister/child of a person with glaucoma. Also, those diagnosed by a consultant ophthalmologist as being at risk of developing glaucoma. The blind and partially sighted People entitled to NHS complex lens vouchers and those who have a valid HC2 certificate. If you are not in the above categories you will have to pay for your eye test, which should cost between £15 and £28. NHS eye tests are free in Wales.

How old does my child have to be before they can have their eyes tested?

Children can be tested at any age. It is recommended that an optometrist sees them before they start school and start learning to read. Often, vision problems can be the reason why a child does not perform well at school, for example because they cannot see the board. The earlier a problem is detected the more chance there is of successful treatment. Children’s eyes are fully developed by the time they are 8 years old so it is very important to have any problems detected before this.

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