How often should you have an eye test?

If you’re wondering how often you should have an eye test, the chances are it’s about time you had one! Many of us put off having an eye test for months or years, even though we wouldn’t do the same for any other medical appointment. However, your vision is just as important as any other aspect of your health.

If you notice any changes at all in your vision, you should book an eye test as soon as possible, but even if you haven’t noticed anything different you should still have one every two years. Eye tests can help to detect health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, so even if you think you have perfect vision, it’s still important to go for a check-up.

Read on below to find out more about why eye tests are important.


Why have an eye test?

Having regular eye tests is important not only to detect any problems with eyesight, but also to check the overall health of the eyes and whether there are any underlying health conditions.

According to the Vision of Britain report published by Optegra and Boots, only 45% of adults realise that eye tests can detect problems with the retina, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. In addition to this, one in ten people discover in an eye test that they need glasses or treatment, when they had no idea that there was a problem. What’s more, 15% of patients are diagnosed with an eye condition too late for treatment to be effective.

Despite these startling statistics, relatively few people have regular eye tests. Only 38% of adults have an eye test every two years, including those who wear glasses or contact lenses. Among those who do not wear glasses or contacts, 14% have an eye test only once every six to ten years. This is a bad sign for British eye health, as it indicates that many conditions are going undiagnosed due to the widespread reluctance to have regular eye tests.


What the experts recommend

Having an eye test every two years is a good start when it comes to looking after your eye health, but experts recommend other courses of action to prevent vision problems from developing in the first place.

Recommendations given by GPs and optometrists in the Vision of Britain report include wearing sunglasses to protect against UV rays and not smoking. Both of these factors have strong links to poor eye health and problems such as distorted vision and glaucoma. Professionals also stress that it is vital not to ignore severe symptoms such as double vision, distorted vision, blind spots, loss of vision, or floaters in the eyes.

Above anything else, GPs and optometrists recommend regular eye tests as the number one way of protecting your vision. The most common reasons that adults cite for not having regular eye tests and for postponing eye treatment are being afraid of surgery (69%) and not wanting to wear glasses (24%). These reasons lead many people to put off having regular eye tests, which can cause some eye conditions to get worse and even deteriorate to the point where they become untreatable. But what are the most common problems with eyesight detected by eye tests?  


Common eyesight problems

There are many different vision problems that can be detected during eye tests, but the most common are myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness), astigmatism and cataracts. All of these conditions can have varying levels of severity and can be very different from one person to another, but the good news is that all are treatable. Many people avoid eye tests because they don’t believe that they can get treatment for eyesight problems, but with advances in technology we no longer have to put up with eyesight problems. New treatment options mean that more and more conditions can now be treated, with innovative techniques such as laser eye surgery and lens replacement.


Going for an eye test

If you suspect that you may have a problem with your vision or general eye health, the first step is to book an eye test. Depending on where you live in the UK, your age and employment status, you may be entitled to a free eye test on the NHS. When you attend your eye test, listen to the optometrist closely and answer all questions as accurately as possible.

If you find there is a problem with your eyesight, don’t worry, as there are a range of treatment options available for you. It’s important not to delay treatment, but instead to discuss your options with your optometrist as soon as possible. If, like 24% of people, you have put off having an eye test because you don’t want to wear glasses or contact lenses, then laser eye surgery could be the best option for you.


Vision correction

It’s possible to have laser eye surgery for long-sightedness, short-sightedness and astigmatism, and these days there are a number of different surgical techniques available, meaning that more people than ever can benefit from vision correction. All laser eye surgery procedures can be carried out quickly and painlessly.

Thanks to these advanced techniques, you no longer need to live with poor eyesight, or be forced to wear glasses or contact lenses every day. A wide range of treatments are available to help improve your eye health and allow you to lead a life free from vision problems.

When you’re ready to seek treatment, come along to an Optegra open evening or book a consultation, and one of our expert ophthalmic surgeons will advise you on the best treatment option for your needs.  


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