The NHS Sight Test is available for certain categories of patients including children up to the age of 16 years, older children under 19 who are in full time education, adults over the age of 60 years, diabetics and patients with glaucoma or who have an immediate family member with glaucoma. Patients who are not in these categories will be charged the standard sight test fee.
As part of a sight test or eye examination an Optometrist will measure the extent of your close and distance vision using special charts and symbols. Using lenses, an optometrist can optimise your vision at all distances and issue a prescription for visual correction (glasses or contact lenses). The need for a visual correction depends on how much you can see, but also what you need to be able to see for example for driving.
A sight test also incorporates a check on the health of the eyes. An Optometrist checks both the inside and outside of your eyes to detect signs of disease or injury. Sometimes an extensive examination is needed involving the instillation of eye drops and a more in depth examination of the retina (back of the eye). Eye health can be further examined using eye-pressure testing, visual field and in-depth scans. Your optometrist will advise you if any of these are needed. As well as eye problems such as cataract, glaucoma and macula degeneration, a sight test can also detect systemic problems such as diabetes or a high blood pressure.
A sight test is a very important part of taking care of yourself. All eye-related problems should be seen by an Optometrist who can evaluate, treat or refer you for specialist intervention if needed. For patients with no problems, a sight test is recommended every 2 years. For patients with a family member that suffers from glaucoma, children or those over 70 years old a sight test is recommended every year.