WHY SHOULD I GET MY EYES TESTED?
It goes without saying that being able to see properly is very helpful in day-to-day life. Good eyesight in children helps them at school and is a legal requirement for driving and certain jobs. Eye tests help to make sure vision is as good as it can be and helps to identify some health problems including: high blood pressure, diabetes, some brain tumours and multiple sclerosis.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD MY CHILD HAVE AN EYE TEST?
Children should have their eyes tested as early as possible – poor vision can lead to learning difficulties – we often see children as young as one year old. Eyes are fully developed by the time a person is eight years old, so it’s important to find and correct any problems early on.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
More than 30 million people in the UK are entitled to a free eye examination paid for by the NHS. The list below shows those who are eligable:
• Under 16, or under 19 still in full time education
• Aged 60 or over
• Diagnosed as having diabetes or glaucoma
• 40 years of age or over with a close relative with glaucoma
• Registered blind or partially sighted
• In need of complex lenses (you may also get an optical voucher)
You are also entitled to a free NHS test if you or your partner are receiving the following benefits or credits:
• Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
• Working Tax Credit/Child Tax Credit (and are named on a NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate)
• You are named on a valid HC2 or HC3 certificate
As well as free eye examination, you may also be entitled to financial help with buying glasses or contact lenses if you are:
• Under 16 or under 19 and still in full time education
• Named on a valid HC2 or HC3 certificate
• In need of complex lenses
• You or your partner claim Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Working Family’s Tax Credit/Disabled Person’s Tax Credit (and are named on a NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate).
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE MY EYES TESTED?
If you’re not experiencing any discomfort or symptoms, you should have your eyes tested every two years. This timescale helps us to identify any changes in vision and general health. However, you may need to be checked more regularly depending on your age and general health. If you’re not sure, please contact us and we’ll let you know.
I’M DIABETIC, WHY DO I NEED MORE REGULAR EYE TESTS?
Diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy – damage to the retina – which can lead to blindness. Regular eye tests are recommended for diabetics because the earlier any changes in the eye are detected, the more likely it is that they can be treated. If you are diabetic, the NHS will pay for your eyes to be checked every year.
CAN ANYONE WEAR CONTACT LENSES?
Advances in materials and design mean that most people can wear contact lenses, which can correct almost all types of faulty vision.
I HAVE CONTACT LENSES, WHY DO I STILL NEED GLASSES?
If your eyes are to remain healthy they need to rest every day, unless you are wearing extended wear lenses – even then they should be rested at least one day a week. If you don’t have an up-to-date pair of glasses, either you won’t be able to see properly during those times or you’ll end up wearing your lenses when it is damaging to do so.
IF MY CONTACT LENSES ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you are experiencing any discomfort with your contact lenses, you should take them out and come to see us as soon as possible. We’ll find out what’s making them uncomfortable and do our best to help.
WHAT IS SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS?
A short-sighted person can’t see into the distance very well but can see things close-up. It’s particularly important to detect short-sightedness in children, as they may struggle to read at school with obvious detriment to their education. Short-sightedness can run in families and is easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
WHAT IS LONG-SIGHTEDNESS?
A long-sighted person can see things in the distance but doesn’t find it easy to see things that are close-up. That usually leads to difficulty with reading. Some people develop long-sightedness as they age because the lens of the eye becomes less flexible. That is called presbyopia and is easily corrected with glasses and contact lenses.
CAN GLASSES HELP WITH DYSLEXIA?
Using colourimetry, our carefully prescribed glasses, with coloured lenses, can often help to alleviate dyslexia. Dyslexia refers to disorders that make it hard for a person to read or interpret words, letters and other characters. Dyslexia is sometimes associated with Irlens Syndrome but someone with Irlens Syndrome may not be dyslexic. Under-performance at school can be one of the first signs of dyslexia.
WHAT IS ASTIGMATISM?
Astigmatism occurs when the front part of the eye, the cornea, is misshaped. Light passing through it cannot be sharply focussed and vision becomes blurred. Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses and/or contact lenses.
WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which the optic nerve suffers damage, usually from an increase in pressure in the eye. If not treated, glaucoma is irreversible and can lead to blindness. If glaucoma runs in your family, the chance of you suffering the disease is increased. Regular eye examinations can help early identification of glaucoma.
WHAT ARE CATARACTS?
A cataract is a cloudiness in lens of the eye. It usually develops as part of the ageing process and vision can be reduced rapidly or over a period of decades. Cataracts do not go away, as they grow lens prescriptions can change rapidly, resulting in the need for a frequent changes of glasses or contact lenses. Some cataracts may require surgery.
WHAT IS MACULAR DEGENERATION?
Usually age-related, this is simply the 'wearing out' of the back of the eye and causes the sufferer an inability to pick out fine detail. There are two types of macular degeneration: wet and dry. The wet form is less common but more treatable and more treatments are becoming available all the time. A healthy diet, protecting the eyes from ultraviolet (UV) light and not smoking help guard against the onset of both forms of the condition.
WHAT ARE VARIFOCALS?
Varifocals combine three different prescriptions in one lens, they provide the wearer with improved vision over short, medium and long distances. Varifocals are available in many different designs and are made to suit the user’s specific needs.
WHAT IS DYSLEXIA?
This describes a number of difficulties with reading and spelling. Visual stress is not dyslexia itself but the condition can be common in dyslexics. If visual stress can be identified and colour is used to alleviative some of the symptoms, then learning difficulties such as dyslexia can be made more manageable.
Any child who does not like to read books should be considered for colorimetric testing. We are your local experts in the subject and can provide the colour filtering – in glasses or contact lenses – needed to alleviate visual stress and therefore help dyslexia.