Why are eye examinations so important?
Eye examinations do not only ensure that you enjoy the highest possible standard of clear and comfortable vision, but they also check the health of your eyes, and can sometimes give an indication of your general health.
How often should I have an eye examination?
Adults and children are normally advised to have an eye examination every two years. However, in some circumstances, we may recommend more frequent eye examinations. For example, if you:
- are a child wearing glasses
- have diabetes
- are aged 40 or over and have a family history of glaucoma
- are aged 70 or over
If you are concerned about your sight before your eye examination is due, you can ask to be seen earlier. If Mr. Batham agrees that you need an earlier eye examination for clinical reasons, and you are entitled to an NHS eye examination, you will not have to pay for your NHS sight test.
If you would like a sight test more often than clinically necessary, you will have to pay for a private eye examination. After you have paid for a private eye examination, you are not eligible for a free NHS sight test until your next sight test is due.
If you are a contact lens wearer, we are obliged to see you once a year in order to continue your supply of lenses.
At what age should my child have their first eye examination?
We recommend a routine check prior to starting school and at any age if concerns are raised. We use a method called ‘objective testing’, allowing us to assess very accurately the health, prescription and muscle status of an eye without needing to question the patient at all.
Am I entitled to a NHS eye examination?
You qualify for a free NHS-funded sight test if:
- you are aged under 16
- you are aged 16, 17 or 18 and are in full-time education
- you are aged 60 or over
- you are registered as partially sighted (sight impaired) or blind (severely sight impaired)
- you have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
- you are 40 or over and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma
- you have been advised by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) that you’re at risk of glaucoma
- you are a prisoner on leave from prison
- You are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your optometrist (optician) can advise you about your entitlement
You are also entitled to a free NHS sight test if you:
- receive Income Support
- receive Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (not Contribution-based)
- receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- receive Income-based Employment and Support Allowance (not Contribution-based)
- are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
- are on a low income and named on a valid HC2 (full help) or HC3 (partial help) certificate
If I have contact lenses why do I need spectacles as well?
If you were to develop an infection in your eye you may be advised not to wear your contact lenses. Or, if you lose or damage a contact lens, then spectacles are essential for you to carry out your day-to-day tasks. An up to date pair of spectacles gives you the opportunity to take a break from contact lens wear without an effect on your vision quality.
How should I clean my spectacles?
As with any precision made item, you will need to take care of your spectacles and protect them from damage to maintain their optimum performance.
How to avoid scratches:
- Keep your spectacles in a hard case when they are not being worn.
- Never leave your spectacles lens-down on a surface or in contact with sharp or abrasive objects (for example, car keys or emery boards in your hand bag).
- Never expose your lenses to any source of heat, i.e. a car windscreen. Heat exposure can damage both the lenses and the frame.
- For day-to-day cleaning use a micro fibre cloth. We will provide one with your spectacles.
- For a more thorough cleaning use soap and cool water. Dry gently with a soft cloth and polish with your micro fibre cloth.
- Cleaning solutions in a spray bottle are also available for when you are on the move or travelling.
How long does an eye examination take?
An eye examination can take anything from 15 to 30 minutes depending on your needs, any symptoms you present and any further testing that may be required to confirm or rule-out diagnosis.
Do you perform NHS eye examinations?
Yes. Please see the answer below for details on eligibility.
Will the NHS pay for my spectacles/contact lenses?
You may get help from the NHS with the cost of glasses or contact lenses if you:
- are aged under 16
- are aged under 19 and in full-time education
- are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher
We will be able to advise you on your entitlement in practice.
You may also get an NHS optical voucher if:
- you receive Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (not contribution-based)
- you receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
- you receive Income-based Employment and Support Allowance.
- you are awarded Universal Credit
- you are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate.
- you are named on a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)
- you are named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3)
The value of the voucher is dependent on the strength of your prescription – the stronger your prescription, the higher the value of the voucher. If your spectacles or contact lenses cost more than your voucher value, you will have to pay the difference.
Why is my spectacle prescription different to my contact lens prescription?
Your spectacle prescription only indicates the power of the lenses required. A prescription for contact lenses is slightly more complicated. Contact lenses sit directly on your cornea, so the shape of your cornea needs to be accounted for.
Many elements are taken into consideration for a soft contact lens prescription:
- Power: this value may be similar to your spectacles. However, whereas spectacles sit away from your eyes, contact lenses sit directly on your eyes so their effective distance is not the same. The shift in distance will affect the power needed to focus correctly.
- Base curve: this denotes how steep the curvature of the contact lens is. The steeper your cornea, the steeper the lens you need.
- Diameter: this is simply how wide the lens is.
- The brand of contact lens.
- The disposal regime.
Can I purchase spectacles/contact lenses without a prescription?
No. It is only legal to dispense spectacles/contact lenses using an in date, signed prescription. For spectacles, a prescription is valid for a maximum of two years whereas a contact lens prescription has a maximum validity of one year.
Can I purchase spectacles/contact lenses from you if I have a prescription made by a different opticians’?
Yes. As long as the prescription has not expired and is signed by the prescribing optician we are happy to fit and supply spectacles/contact lenses using a prescription from elsewhere.
Can I buy spectacles/contact lenses if I didn’t have my eye examination with you?
Yes. As long as the prescription has not expired and is signed by the prescribing optician we are happy to fit and supply spectacles/contact lenses using a prescription from elsewhere. However, a contact lens prescription differs to a spectacle prescription – as long as all of the contact lens specifications are provided, we can supply lenses up to the point at which the prescription expires.
Can I still buy spectacles/contact lenses when my prescription expires?
No. It is only legal to dispense spectacles/contact lenses to an in date, signed prescription. For spectacles a prescription is valid for a maximum of two years whereas a contact lens prescription has a maximum validity of one year. When a prescription expires, it is necessary to have a new eye examination or contact lens check-up to produce a new prescription.
Can I wear contact lenses if I have astigmatism?
Yes. We can fit Toric lenses that correct astigmatism. They are available in both soft and RGP form. During a contact lens fitting/consultation, we will be able to advise you on the best options and products available for you.