The sight test and top tips for eye health

National eye health week 2019 

Each day this week to celebrate National eye health week 2019 we will be bringing you different focus areas to raise as much awareness around eye health as possible.

Monday will focus on The sight test and top tips.

The sight test an essential health check

Many people think that a sight test is just about checking whether your vision needs correcting. But there are other important reasons to have regular sight tests.
A sight test is a vital check on the health of the eyes and can detect a range of common eye conditions.
Many of these, if found early, can be treated successfully, avoiding potential sight loss.
A sight test can also spot other health conditions such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, diabetes and increased risk of stroke.
Who needs a regular sight test? Everybody! Sight tests should be part of your health care routine just like going to the dentist.
And remember, children are never too young to have an eye check. Special tests have been devised to help optometrists examine even the youngest children.

How often should I have a sight test?

Most people should have their eyes checked every two years, unless advised otherwise by their optometrist.
Certain groups may need their eyes checked more frequently, including people with a family history of glaucoma. Your optometrist will advise you.

What happens during a sight test?

Sight test appointments usually last around 30 minutes. Your optometrist will tailor the examination according to your individual circumstance, taking into account your age, medical history and lifestyle.
Tests performed during your test might include: using a retinal camera or ophthalmoscope to examine the retina; assessing your visual acuity by asking you to read letters from a Snellen chart and measuring the pressure inside your eye. Costs of eye tests vary. However, over 30 million people in the UK are entitled to free sight tests paid for by the NHS. And, if you regularly use a computer at work you may be entitled to a test paid for by your employer.

Do I qualify for a free sight test?

Those entitled to a sight test paid for by the NHS include the following groups:

– Aged 60 or over

– Under 16 or under 19 still in full time education

– Diagnosed as having diabetes or glaucoma

– Live in Scotland

– Registered blind or partially sighted

– Complex lenses wearers

– Receive Income Support

– Receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit

– Named on a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

People named on a HC3 NHS certificate may also get help. For full details of who is entitled to sight tests paid for by the NHS please visit
Certain groups in Wales are also entitled to an extended eye examination.
For details of enhanced eye examination entitlements in Wales please visit
You may also be entitled to a voucher towards the cost of any eyewear prescribed.
Ask your optician for details.

For more information about looking after your eyes visit

All the information used is taken from the free leaflets available in the practice and published by Eye Health UK (registered charity no 1086146). Links to the leaflet are included below;

Top tips for good eye health

Regular check ups

Get your eyes tested every two years even if you think your vision is fine.
Some eye conditions, for example open angle glaucoma, may not show noticeable symptoms so regular check-ups are vital.

Quit the habit

If you smoke, you have another good reason to kick the habit. Smoking is directly linked to blindness. Current smokers are up to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration (the UK’s leading cause of blindness) compared to past smokers or non-smokers.

It’s all relative

Talk to your relatives about their eye health as some eye conditions have genetic links such as glaucoma or squint. It is important that you share this information with your optometrist.

Be cool in the sun

Protect your eyes when it is sunny or when you’re in high glare areas such as near snow or water. Cumulative UV exposure can increase your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Look out for the CE, UV 400 or British Standard marks when buying sunglasses as this ensures they provide a safe level of protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays.

Contact care

If you wear contact lenses make sure you look after them properly.
Thoroughly wash and dry your hands before touching your contact lenses or your eyes and only ever clean your contacts using the contact lens solution recommended by your practitioner. Never shower, sleep or swim with your lenses in because this can put you at risk of developing a serious eye infection which could lead to sight loss. Also, don’t wear them for longer than recommended by your practitioner or the manufacturer.

Spend time outdoors

There is emerging evidence that spending two hours or more, a day outdoors can reduce the risk of myopia, even if there is a family history of the condition.

Protect your eyes

If you work with hazardous or airborne materials at work or home wear safety glasses or protective goggles to protect your eyes from injury.

Keep fit and healthy

Regular exercise is essential to stay fit and healthy and contributes to maintaining good eye health. Don’t forget to wear protective eyewear when playing sports such as squash to protect your eyes from flying balls. Cyclists should also wear any eyewear prescribed for driving when riding on the roads.

Eat well

Protecting your eyes starts with the food you eat. Studies have shown that nutrients in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E may help prevent age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Foods containing eye friendly nutrients include green leafy vegetables, oily fish such as salmon eggs, whole grains, chicken and citrus fruits. You should also ensure your alcohol intake is within Department of Health recommended limits.

Be screen smart

Although working at a computer won’t harm your eyes, sitting staring at a screen for long periods can cause ‘screen fatigue’ – sore, itchy or tired eyes; headaches; impaired colour perception and temporary blurring. So, it is important to take regular breaks to keep your eyes feeling fresh and bright.

For more information about looking after your eyes visit

We are always here to share our experience and knowledge. If you need any help or advice please call the team on 01775 713366.

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