You use your eyes every day, from the second you wake up in the morning to when you fall asleep at night. Eyes manage 80% of all information you will ever take in, so it’s important to make sure you’re looking after them and keeping them healthy.
According to research published by Orbis in October 2021, 50% of adults haven’t attempted to book a routine eye test with an optician since before March 2020. As well as this, 69% haven’t attempted to book a specialist eye care appointment with a hospital or ophthalmologist. This means you could be walking around with deteriorating eye health and not know about it. More than 50% of sight loss is preventable, and getting your eyes tested can help prevent, or limit, the damage caused by certain eye conditions.
How often do you need an eye test?
As with anything, the health of our eyes can change over time, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting them checked on regularly. The NHS recommends that adults over the age of 16 get their eyes tested every two years. There are certain factors that can affect how often you should be visiting your optician for an eye test. You may have to visit the opticians for an eye test more regularly if you:
- Are a child who wears glasses
- Have type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- Are aged 40 or over and have a family history of glaucoma
- Are aged 70 or over
What can you find out from an eye test?
Having your eyes tested isn’t just about if you need to wear glasses or not. An eye test can detect a range of eye problems you may have, such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and so on. Your eyes can also show symptoms of other issues in the body that don’t just relate to your eyes. Some serious conditions that can be detected during an eye test include dementia, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and tumours.
So even if you don’t think your eyesight has changed it’s important to make sure you go for a regular test.
What to expect from an eye test
When you have an eye test it will typically start with a general conversation about your vision which will then be followed by a series of tests. When you’re with the optician they’ll ask some more specific questions about your health, including:
- Do you take any medication?
- Do you already have a prescription for glasses or contact lenses?
- Do you have any genetic health history, such as glaucoma?
- Do you have any issues or concerns with your current vision?
Each examination will differ depending on individual needs and eye health, however, they usually last no longer than 20 minutes. Once the test is complete your optician will advise you if you need glasses, or if you need a different prescription, and help you with the next steps.
Occasionally you might be asked to see your GP or an eye specialist if there is some further investigation or treatment required. If no problems are found with your eyesight, then the only advice will be to return for another test in two years' time unless you notice any change in that time.
Help to pay for your eye test
Although there’s a financial cost to caring for your eyes, it’s worth it to reduce your chances of deteriorating eye health. You can get help with paying for your optical care with a health cash plan, a plan that allows you to pay monthly for cover. You can claim money back, up to set limits, towards the cost of your essential healthcare. For more information about prices, levels and what you are covered for, visit our health cash plan page.