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Do I need an eye test?

Why is an eye test important?


Regular eye tests are important for making sure your eyes are healthy, checking for any changes and keeping your prescription up to date. Even if you don’t wear glasses or contact lenses it’s important to get your eyes checked at least once every two years. If you notice a change in your eyes or if you are in an at-risk group it is important to get your eyes checked more regularly.

Eye tests can show early signs of underlying health conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, which you might not yet be aware of. An eye test also checked the health of your eyes for conditions such as macular degeneration or glaucoma, which helps improve the treatment of these conditions.

You may also need glasses or contact lenses but be unaware of how much your vision can be improved. A routine eye test will let you know if you need a prescription, which is important for meeting the legal standards for driving and some jobs.

If you have or have a family history of diabetes, glaucoma, macular degeneration or high blood pressure you may need more regular eye tests so check with your optician for advice. It is important children and teenagers get their eyes test at least once a year as their eyes are rapidly developing and changing. Any changes should be detected through an eye test making it easier to give them the help they may need, some conditions left untreated can have lifelong effects.

Do I have to pay for an eye test?

You may qualify for free NHS eye tests if you are:

  • under 16
  • under 18 in full time education
  • are over 60
  • claiming certain benefits
  • registered blind or partially sighted
  • diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
  • considered at risk of glaucoma or are over 40 and are the parent, brother, sister, son or daughter of someone with glaucoma
  • on a low income and have a valid HC2 or HC3 certificate from the NHS
  • a prisoner being seen outside prison
  • a resident of Scotland (being seen in Scotland)

If you do not fall into one of the groups above you will be required to pay for your eye test.

What will an eye test show?

An eye test will show the health of your eyes and whether or not you need a prescription to see clearly. If your eyes are healthy and vision is good your optician will advise you when you should come back for your next test. If you need a prescription the optician will explain this to you and go through your options with you. If your optician sees signs of an eye condition which needs treatment they will refer you to a specialist for further appointments.

What happens in an eye test?

Before your eye test with the optician you will be taken for a quick pre-test to get some starting information for the optician. You will be asked to look into a machine which will take some basic measurements and, if you wear glasses, your previous prescription will be checked. This gives the optician some initial information to start with before the full test.

During your eye test the optician will test your vision by asking you to read the letters on a board (see below) and they will check the pressure in your eye and look at the back of your eye to check for any eye conditions. The test will take approximately 20-30 minutes and should not be uncomfortable at all.

If you decide to have an advanced eye test (or OCT eye test ) the optician will use a machine to examine the back of your eye for any signs of degeneration or other eye conditions. This produces a 3D image of your eye which helps the optician see if it is healthy. This extra part of the test should take no more than 10 minutes and is particularly recommended for people with a family history of diabetes, glaucoma and other eye conditions. However an OCT test is available to anyone and can be good for added peace of mind and if you are concerned about your eye health.

Booking an eye test with SelectSpecs

If you're local to Westgate on Sea, Kent, UK, you can have one of the most advanced eye tests at our practice.


To find out more details and to book a test click here »