Vision is the sense that most of us fear losing the most. Regular eye tests are important not only for monitoring gradual or natural sight loss, but can also for detecting preventable causes of blindness and symptoms of chronic conditions.
Why should I get my eyes tested?
It is important for children to have regular eye tests because sight problems are thought to hinder academic achievement. A child may not complain about sight problems because he or she might not recognise that their vision is abnormal, so it is necessary for them to be examined by an ophthalmic professional regularly.
For adults who suffer from normal sight problems, like long or short-sightedness and astigmatism, an eye examination will determine whether or not you need to update your prescription. Furthermore, if you are over the age of 21 and your sight has been stable for at least two to three years, you may be suitable for Optimax laser eye surgery.
For people over the age of 60, regular sight tests will help to flag up normal deterioration in the eyes, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Cataracts can also be treated with Optimax laser eye surgery .
Eye examinations can detect conditions which display early symptoms in the eye, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Regardless of any pre-existing sight problems, it is advisable for everyone to undergo regular eye examinations.
How often should I have my eyes tested?
The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) recommends that children under the age of 16 should have annual eye tests. For adults under the age of 60 an eye exam at least every two years is recommended, and annually for those over 60.
Where can I get my eyes tested?
Eye tests are performed at opticians, with the NHS or at private ophthalmic practices. If you are under 16 or over 60, you should be entitled to a free eye examination by the NHS.
What do they check for?
• Refractive errors which can be corrected by eyeglasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery.
• Strabismus and amblyopia and eye-teaming problems, whereby the eyes are turned or crossed, which can lead to permanent vision impairment if left untreated.
• Focusing problems in developing children and age-related presbyopia in older patients.
• Eye diseases such as glaucoma (ocular hypertension) and diabetic retinopathy, which have no symptoms in early stages, but can lead to permanent loss of vision.
• Chronic conditions which show early symptoms in the small blood vessels in the eye, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.
Healthy eyes are necessary for most day-to-day tasks and for the enjoyment of the many visual marvels that the world has to offer. Getting your eyes checked regularly will ensure you get the most from your vision and help prevent vision impairment and sight-loss.