How often should you have an eye test?
It’s a question we’ve all wondered at some point in our lives.
Many people underestimate the importance of regular eye exams. Whether its anxiety related or simply due to a lack of concern, regular visits to your opticians is important for many reasons.
Your optometrist can detect a wide variety of eye and body-related concerns from simply looking at your eyes alone and the best part is, routine tests are quick, easy and painless. For example, conditions such as glaucoma and diabetes can be easily detected with the technology optometrists have available today, but that’s no reason to put your next visit on hold.
Many eye health conditions are treatable if detected early, but if some conditions are not found, they can cause your eyesight to deteriorate or in some cases, you can lose your vision entirely
So, just how important are regular visits and how often should you have an eye test?
How often should you get your eyes tested
The NHS recommends that adults have their eyes tested every two years. This level of eye test frequency will ensure any sudden changes to your eyesight are detected quickly and a treatment plan can be put in place.
However, in the meantime, if you notice that something isn’t quite right, there’s no reason to wait until your two years are up. Your optometrist will always recommend more frequent visits if they think they’re needed too.
Your optometrist can detect a wide variety of conditions from regular eye exams too. These include, but are not restricted to:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
Remember, there is a very small chance that your optometrist will detect any of these conditions during routine visits, but it’s better to rule them out than deal with poor eyesight further down the line.
Does my age affect how often I should get my eyes tested?
Age plays an important role regarding how often you should get an eye test.
But even if something is wrong, your eyes will very rarely tell you. In fact, you will probably feel very little or any pain at all.
The NHS recommends the following framework for eye test frequency, however, these are guidelines and your opticians will let you know how often you need to be seen.
- Children under 18 should have their eyes tested each year
- People between the ages of 19 and 69 should have their eyes tested every 2 years
- Those over 70 should have an eye test every 12 months
If you’re worried about your eye exam, don’t worry. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will be able to explain the procedure in detail before going ahead. You can find out more about our eye exam procedures at D.I. Blow Opticians here.
An NHS sight test is also free of charge if you fall into one of the eligible groups and your exam is considered clinically necessary. You’re eligible for a free eye test if you:
- are under 16
- are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education
- are 60 or over
- are registered as partially sighted or blind
- have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
- are 40 or over and your mother, father, sibling or child has been diagnosed with glaucoma
- have been advised by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) that you’re at risk of glaucoma
- are a prisoner on leave from prison
- are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your optician can advise you about your entitlement
What else do I need to consider?
Go when you need to
If you notice a sudden change to your eyesight, don’t put your eye exam on hold. Book your next visit as soon as possible. This will give you peace of mind and help rule out anything concerning.
If you drive, pay extra attention to your eye health
As part of the DVLA guidelines, it’s important that drivers can read a number plate from 20 metres away. If you’re driving a HGV lorry or bus, the guidelines are even stricter.
Computer use should never be ignored
Many of us spend our days tapping away and staring at screens all day. This can put an enormous amount of strain on our eyes, cause itching, dry eyes and even headaches. But how often should you get your eyes tested if you work on a screen all day?
Well, the same guidelines apply – get your eyes tested once every two years unless your optometrist recommends more frequent check-ups. In the meantime, if you work on a computer, you can help relieve your eyes by taking regular breaks, blinking regularly and finding good light.
Many employers also offer free eye tests or eyecare vouchers – your HR or Benefits team will be able to help with this.
The bottom line
Being clued up on when to get an eye test is just as important as the procedure itself. Remember, if you notice a sudden change to your eyesight, don’t wait until your next appointment. Your optician or ophthalmologist will be more than happy to help.