Everyone should have an eye test at least every two years. As well as ensuring optimal vision, the Optometrist can carry out a health check of the eyes

Many conditions affecting the general health can be detected during an eye test, e.g. high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as eye conditions themselves, e.g. cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration. With many of these conditions, the earlier they are detected, the more can be done to control them or limit their effects.

Drivers in this Country are not required to have further eye sight checks once they have read the number plate during their test, until the age of 70 years. However, research suggests that up to 20% of drivers continue to drive, knowing their eyesight is not as clear as it once was. It is essential to regularly check that your eyesight is still adequate to drive; if it is not, you risk breaking the law and some car insurance policies will be invalidated. It is always best to drive in an up to date pair of glasses and consider carrying a spare, just in case. Indeed, in some European Countries, this is mandatory. It is best to avoid driving at night in tinted lenses; many people find clear lenses with an anti-reflection coating helps minimise glare.

Most of us spend increasing amounts of time working on computers, laptops or tablets. While this will not in itself damage the eyes, such a detailed working environment can bring on headaches or eyestrain in normal eyes, if used without a break. During an eye test an Optometrist can advise on good practice, including lighting and regular breaks. There are also many spectacle lens options and coatings to help optimise vision when using a VDU. If you are a regular VDU user, many employers will cover the cost of the sight test.

Extended exposure of the eyes to the sun’s Ultraviolet (UV) rays has been linked to many eye conditions including development of cataracts and macular degeneration. Newer evidence now also suggests that the blue wavelengths of visible light may also have an impact too. The effects are cumulative over our lifetime, so it is particularly important to consider good quality UV blocking sunglasses for children as well as adults. These can be useful in the summer and also in regions that have high levels of reflected light, e.g. water or snow. Some people find polarised lenses useful, as well as tinted lenses or photochromatic lenses (ones that change with light intensity).