An eye examination is much more than a test of your vision. It can also identify any issues you may have with your eye health and even your general health, before you may have become aware of them.
Most people should have their eyes examined at least every two years, depending on their clinical circumstances. However, you should:
Enter your postcode in Find a local optometrist to find a member or fellow of the College of Optometrists in a practice nearby. These optometrists will have MCOptom or FCOptom after their name – a sign of their commitment to providing the highest standards of care.
If you are happy with your optometrist, you should try and stay with them so that they can keep track of any changes to your eyes over time.
In Scotland, the NHS pays for eye examinations for everyone. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the price is usually between ￡25 and ￡40, but varies from practice to practice. Check with the practice before you book. You may be entitled to an NHS funded sight test.
England: Check the NHS website to see if you are eligible for a free sight test.
Northern Ireland: Check the NI Direct website to see if you are eligible for a free sight test.
Scotland: Eye examinations are free to those ordinarily resident in the UK .
Wales: Check the Eye Care Wales Services website to see if you are eligible for a free sight test.
If you, or someone you care for is unable to visit the optometrist because of physical or mental illness or disability, the optometrist can come to you. Optometrists who provide domiciliary (at home) services are experienced in dealing with patients with various mental and physical disabilities, and can carry out an examination in their home. If you qualify for a free NHS sight test, the NHS will pay for your optometrist to visit you at home.
It is helpful to take along:
If you think you may be entitled to an NHS-funded sight test, you may need to bring along other documents. Check with your optometrist when you make your appointment.
The eye examination usually takes around 20 – 30 minutes. During the examination, the optometrist will:
After the examination, you will be given a prescription for glasses if you need them, or a statement which confirms that you don’t need them. You can order your glasses from the practice where you had your eyes examined or take it elsewhere. But it’s important to remember that it is often more difficult to resolve any problems you may have if you buy your glasses somewhere else