Am I entitled to an NHS eye test?

To be entitled to an NHS eye test at least one of the following must apply to you:

    • Aged under 16
    • Aged over 16 and under 19 still in full-time education
    • Aged over 60
    • Receiving any of these benefits (or be the partner of  someone who is receiving one):  Income Support * Universal Credit * Disabled Persons Tax Credit * Income-based Job Seekers allowance *  Income-based Employment and Support Allowance * Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
    • Hold or be named on an HC2 certificate
    • Over 40 with an immediate relative who has Glaucoma - i.e. Parent/Brother/Sister/Child
    • Suffer from Glaucoma or Diabetes
    • Registered Blind or Partially Sighted
    • Need or have been prescribed Complex lenses as defined in regulations

Alternatively if you believe you should have help you may fill in a form HC1 which can be obtained from Post Offices or your Optician. You will be assessed by the DSS and if they agree, you will be sent an HC2 or HC3  certificate to help with your costs.

Do I need to register with an Optician for NHS treatment?

There is no requirement to register. When you attend for an eye examination you will be asked for proof of entitlement to NHS treatment and your National Insurance number will be required. The NHS has guidelines on how often you may have an eye test paid for by them.

How often should I have an eye exam?

This varies according to your age and health. For children we recommend a routine examination every 12 months unless otherwise advised. During adulthood the normal interval is 2 years but once over the age of 60 or  with certain medical conditions or family eye problems,there may be a need for more frequent examinations. Your Optometrist will advise you

At what age should I bring my child for an eye examination?

Certainly before he/she starts school. Bring your child at any age if you have a concern about their eyes or eyesight. If you or a close family member has a squint or ‘lazy eye’ it is very important that your child  comes for an eye examination.

Will my eyes become worse if I wear glasses?

Wearing spectacles does not make your eyes worse. It can teach your brain that better vision is achievable if you wear your spectacles. This then leads to increased use of your spectacles because your brain prefers  the better vision they offer. As you age, your eyes will, however, naturally require increasing help for near tasks such as reading.

What is best to use for cleaning my specs?

Ideally a proprietary spectacle cleaning product. If your lenses have an anti-reflection coating you need the appropriate spray and micro-fibre cloth for coated lenses to achieve the best performance from your lenses. Particularly when cleaning Plastic lenses it is important to clean them moist. Even breathing on them to mist them up is preferable to wiping with a dry cloth. Never use ordinary tissues on plastic lenses. For Polycarbonate lenses it is important to avoid solvent or alcohol based cleaners as these will damage the lens surface.

Can you remove scratches from my lenses?

Unfortunately, no. If a lens is scratched the only remedy is to replace it

Will tinted lenses help me to drive at night?

The Highway Code advises that you should not drive at night wearing tinted lenses. There is no evidence that tinted lenses are of any benefit for night driving. In fact the tint can make it more difficult for you to  see dark objects, e.g. people in shadow at the side of the road.  In some parts of the EC it is against the law.

The yellow lenses which one sees sold as ‘Night Vision’ glasses are actually a contrast enhancing filter. They can make things stand out better by making the dark areas darker - not a good idea on a poorly lit road.  They will not remove the glare of oncoming headlights (for spectacle wearers the best solution to this problem is to have an Anti-Relflection coating on your lenses). The yellow lenses can, however, be of value driving in daytime fog.

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