Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the difference between a Sight Test and an Eye Examination?

Does a Sight Test include a glaucoma test ?

Who is eligible for an NHS Sight test?

What age should children have their first Sight Test?

What age can children wear contact lenses?

I am on benefits, how much will new spectacles cost?

 

What is the difference between a Sight Test and an Eye Examination?

A Sight Test is a test of your sight to provide a spectacle prescription, and to determine whether you have any signs of eye disease.

If there are signs of disease present the regulations require that you are referred to an appropriately qualified person (usually a specialist optometrist, your GP or the Hospital Eye Service) to carry out further investigations in order to diagnose the problem and provide advice on treatment and management.

An Eye Examination includes these more detailed investigations to diagnose  eye disease and, where appropriate, provide treatment and management advice, as well as the standard procedures that are carried out as part of a Sight Test.

The additional procedures in an Eye Examination depend on the problem that is present.

 

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Does a Sight Test include a glaucoma test ?

There are a number of tests required to diagnose glaucoma some of which are included in a Sight Test:

Glaucoma Test Sight Test Glaucoma Assessment
Intraocular Pressure Yes Yes
Optic Nerve Screening Yes Yes
Screening Field Test Yes Yes
Diagnostic Field Test Yes
Dilated Stereo Optic Nerve Assessment Yes
Corneal Thickness Measurement Yes
Anterior Chamber Gonioscopy Yes
Digital Optic Nerve Photography Yes

The risk factors for developing chronic or acute glaucoma are:

  • High Intraocular pressure
  • Age over 40
  • Family History of glaucoma (particularly siblings)
  • Longsightedness with shallow anterior chamber angles
  • Shortsightedness over -6.00
  • Afro-Carribean, Eskimo or South-East Asian descent
  • Use of inhaled or oral corticosteroids (for example asthma and arthritis treatments)
  • Diabetes

If you have any of these risk factors we recommend you have an Glaucoma Assessment so that we can comprehensively evaluate your risk.

The 3 simple tests in a Sight Test may not be sufficient to detect the disease early when treatment is often more effective.

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Who is eligible for an NHS Sight test?

You may be entitled to a NHS sight test if you are in one of these groups:

  • Over 60
  • Under 16*
  • Full time student aged 16, 17, or 18*
  • Named on a HC2 certificate*
  • Registered blind or partially sighted*
  • Suffer from diabetes or glaucoma
  • Considered at risk of glaucoma by an ophthalmologist
  • Over 40 and the parent or brother or sister or child of a person who has or had glaucoma
  • Prescribed complex lenses under the NHS optical voucher scheme

Or if you or your partner receives:

  • Income support*
  • Income based jobseekers allowance*
  • Pension credit guarantee credit*
  • Tax credit *

* You may also be entitled to an optical voucher

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What age should children have their first Sight Test?

Children need to have an sight test early in life.  This is particularly important now that school vision screening has been withdrawn in many areas.  In young children problems such as lazy eyes and squints can be treated, but these treatments become less effective the closer the child is to the age of 8 years.  Additionally, an uncorrected glasses prescription has a detrimental effect on your child eduction and academic ability.  Ideally we like to see most children at about the age of 4 years but if there is a family history of turns, squints or lazy eyes we like to see them from about the age of 2 years.

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What age can children wear contact lenses?

There is no set age at which children can wear contact lenses and, like adults, children can often find wearing contact lenses very liberating especially when participating in sporting activities. We try to gauge a child’s responsibility and attitude toward contact lenses. Once they feel they are ready to try lenses we initially try to fit daily disposable lenses on a limited wearing schedule to provide the lowest risk to the child’s ocular health.

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I am on benefits, how much will new spectacles cost?

In general terms the NHS optical voucher will cover the cost of basic plastic single vision or bifocal lenses. There will also be a contribution toward the frames which is currently £13.70. We do hold a limited stock of frames that are available free to patients in receipt of benefits.

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