Frequently Asked Questions

WHY SHOULD I HAVE AN EYE EXAMINATION?

You have only one pair of eyes so you need to ensure they remain healthy. If there are any problems, it is better that they are detected early. Some eye conditions will not necessarily have any symptoms or pain, especially in the early stages. An eye examination can detect Conditions such as chronic glaucoma at an early stage before any symptoms appear. The eye examination may also detect underlying health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Problems with eye health can have life changing consequences such as having to stop driving or being unable to read.

The eye examination will also check your standard of vision. You may be unaware that your vision is not as clear as it could be. Good vision gives a better quality of life plus there are legal standards required for driving and certain occupations. For children it is essential that their eyes are working properly for them to perform well at school.

HOW OLD DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO BE BEFORE THEY CAN HAVE AN EYE EXAMINATION?

If you have any concerns about your child’s sight they should be seen even if they are only a few weeks old. Generally though all children should have their first full eye examination before they start school. They do not need to know their alphabet as we have alternative tests for younger children. Many parents are surprised by how well their 2 or 3 year old child will respond to the ‘games’ they have to play.

As with adults, the earlier any problems are detected the better as there is more chance of successful treatment. The visual system continues to develop for the first few years of a child’s life so conditions such as a lazy eye (amblyopia) can often be completely solved if detected early enough.

WHY DOES MY CHILD NEED TO SEE AN OPTOMETRIST WHEN THEY GET TESTED AT SCHOOL?

Although there is often a screening program for reception age children this is not a full eye examination. It checks distance vision and is designed to detect large defects of vision. Near vision and eye health are not checked. During a full eye examination an optometrist will check all aspects of your child’s vision and ocular health. Children under 16, or under 19 if in full time education can have a free NHS eye examination with an optometrist.

DO I NEED AN EYE EXAMINATION IF I AM DIABETIC?

Yes. Diabetes can cause severe problems with your sight so it is important that you have a full eye examination every year. In addition to any retinal screening clinics that you attend. Diabetes is the most common cause of blindness in people of working age in the Western world. Diabetics are entitled to a free NHS eye examination once a year.

I HAVE A RELATIVE WITH GLAUCOMA, WILL IT AFFECT ME?

If you have a close relative with glaucoma (parent, brother, sister, son, daughter) then you are more at risk of developing it. If you are over 40 years of age with a close relative diagnosed with glaucoma then you are entitled to a free NHS eye examination once a year.

WHAT ARE CATARACTS?

A cataract is when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy preventing you from seeing clearly. Cataracts normally develop, as people get older. An eye examination will detect any cataract present and advice will be given depending on how cloudy it has become.

I HAVE HEARD THAT CONTACT LENS CAN SLIP ROUND TO THE BACK OF THE EYE. IS THIS TRUE?

No. There is a transparent membrane, which covers the inside of the eyelids and the outside of the eye. This forms a seal which prevents contact lenses, as well as grit, dust and other foreign material, passing around to the back of the eye. It has been known for contact lenses to hide beneath the eyelids, but this is easily rectified.

I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT I CANNOT WEAR CONTACT LENSES AS I HAVE ASTIGMATISM. IS THIS TRUE?

There are many kinds of contact lenses available now, which will correct astigmatism, both in soft and gas permeable materials.

ARE PAPER TISSUES ALL RIGHT FOR CLEANING MY GLASSES WITH?

No. If you have plastic lenses in your spectacles then dry tissues will scratch them. It is generally better to use soapy water and a soft cloth. Lenses with anti-glare coatings should be cleaned with a special cloth and spray.

SHOULD MY EMPLOYER PAY FOR MY EYE TEST AND GLASSES AS I NOW USE A COMPUTER

If you regularly use a computer as part of your work your employer must provide a regular full eye examination free of charge. They are only obliged to pay for a pair of basic glasses if it is shown that they are specifically for computer/VDU use. If you use them at any other time, for example reading or TV your employer does not have to pay for them.

WHAT IS A CONTACT LENS AFTERCARE

This is an essential check-up that should be carried out by us usually every 6 months. Regular routine aftercare enables us to monitor the health of the eyes and to ensure that you are getting the best vision and comfort from your contact lenses.