An eye test is a regular 2 yearly check on the health of your eyes. Some people will need checks more regularly than 2 years but this is usually due to specific medical or age related reasons.
At the Eye Collective the process is broken down into 4 main stages.
1. Questions regarding your reason for visiting
2. Health screening/pre tests
3. The examination
4. Handover of results
Questions regarding your reason for visiting
At your visit to the Eye Collective you will be asked to complete a pre-consultation form. This will give the optometrist an idea of whether you are simply there for a regular check up or if you are having any problems or worries that you specifically want to talk about.
Some optometrists like to do this themselves whereas others may ask you to fill out a form before you enter the testing room. In either case the objective is to make the appointment specific to your needs and help to narrow down any recommendations.
Health screening/pre tests
Depending on the store you have your test conducted, these test will either be completed by the optometrist themselves or by an experienced Optical Assistant.
The test are to help flag any potential underlying issues you may have with the health of your eyes. It is important to note that the results from these tests do not mean anything by themselves but are indications for the optometrist to examine further. Common pre tests will include
1. Auto refraction – This is a machine that takes a rough idea of what your prescription is. It gives the optometrist a basis to begin with rather than starting from nowhere. You will be asked to put your chin on a rest and to look at an image. The image will come in and out of focus and will beep a few times. That process will be repeated for both eyes.
2. Tonometry – Tonometry is the check of pressure within the eye. This helps the optometrist check for signs of conditions such as glaucoma or a detached retina. You will be asked to put your chin on a rest and focus on a green dot. A small puff of air will touch the front of you eye and record the pressure. This will be repeated at least 3 times on each eye to give an average reading. It may need to be repeated more times if an accurate reading is not made. It sounds scary but the puff does not hurt in the slightest and only touches the front section of your eye.
3. Fundus – Fundus is a photograph of the back of the eye. This helps the optician see the whole retina in one go and is more accurately able to detect potential issues with the anatomy. The photograph works like any normal camera so there will be a flash. If you have any issues with light or flashes please make sure your optician knows as there are other ways to conduct this examination. You will be asked to put your chin on a rest and focus on a green dot. Once aligned, a flash will appear and the picture will be taken.
4. Fields – The fields test check your periphery or edges of your vision. This is an important check to make sure that there are no blind spots within your vision. Normally this test would be conducted if you are over the age of 40 as most conditions that affect peripheral vision happen after this age. You may be asked to complete this test if you are experiencing other symptoms like constant headaches. This is usually precautionary. You will be given a clicker and asked to focus on a central point. Your eyes must always stay on that central point. Dots will appear in random places around that central point. Everytime you see a dot you will be asked to push the clicker. This will be repeated for both eyes and will take a few minutes to complete in total.
These are the 4 most common pre checks that will be conducted, although, some stores may have additional equipment that are either more advanced or more specific.
The examination is the main body of the eye test. This is where the optometrist will conduct further tests to check the health of the eye and also check if you have any prescription needs.
The optometrists checks are varied and will likely include a range of checks using a screen or projected image on a far away wall, hand held tests to do with reading or near vision as well as close up examinations. In the close up examinations the optometrist will be near to your face so they can fully examine your eyes. They may need to touch or pull your eyelids, administer drops or use a handheld light. Our optometrist will be explaining what they are doing at each step and what the process is.
Handover of results
If needed, recommendations will be given to you as to what visual correction you need and the best lenses to do so. You will then be introduced to a member of our team who will help you with your next steps. If you are in need of any prescriptions the optometrist will explain what is required and what things they should discuss further with you. This may include lens types/options, coatings, additional pairs or even further tests.
Do I have to pay for my eye test
In most cases, eye examinations are conducted on a private basis so yes you will need to pay.
There are some exceptions. The NHS will provide a free examination for adults under the following reasons:
- Glaucoma – If you have glaucoma you will receive a free annual check up. If you have a direct family member with glaucoma (mother, father, sister, brother) AND you are over the age of 40 then you will also receive a free annual check.
- Diabetes – If you yourself have diabetes then you will have a receive a free eye exam every 2 years.
- If you have been prescribed a complex prescription/ are registered blind or partially sighted then you will receive a free eye exam every 2 years.
- Universal Credit – If you receive universal credit you will be entitled to a free eye exam every 2 years.
We are commonly asked if you receive a free eye exam when pregnant. The answer to this is no. The main reason is that your eyesight can drastically change whilst pregnant and also upto 6 months after birth.
Do I get any help towards the cost of glasses?
The NHS will provide some help towards the cost of glasses but only for specific reasons.
- You are receiving universal credits
- You have a complex prescription
- You hold a HC2 certificate.
The amount of discount will depend on the prescription/ lens type needed for correction. The discount is there to cover the cost of the basic lenses needed to cater for your prescription. A basic lens means it simply corrects vision but has no extras like coatings or thinning, these are chargeable extras.