Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I have an eye examination if my vision seems fine?
Everyone should have an eye examination at least every two years. Changes can occur without you realising it. Sometimes eye diseases can develop and often early diagnosis may save your sight.
What if I can’t see the frame I want in your practice?
We have the facility to order frames in on approval so if we don’t have want you want on display speak to our staff members who will be able to help you and order in frames to meet your requirements. Or, if you find a frame you like at a different opticians, simply take a note of the manufacturer, style and size and we’ll do our best to order it in for you.
What is the difference between an aftercare and an eye exam and why would I need both?
An aftercare fully assesses the fit and condition of your contact lenses, the implications of contact lens wear on the health of your eyes and your contact lens specification. We recommend these every 6 months or annually if you are a very part time wearer.
An eye exam assesses the health of your whole visual system. It determines your prescription for glasses, how the eyes work together, the health of back of your eyes as well as various tests for eye disease like Glaucoma. These are recommended usually every year or two.
My contact lenses aren’t listed on here?
As we are independent, we can use any number of suppliers. Please ask us to find out about your lenses as even the "own brand" lenses that some opticians use have alternatives that are similar or the same.
When can I next have an NHS voucher for new glasses?
Eligible patients (who are on low income or certain benefits) are entitled to a new voucher whenever there is a "clinical" change in their glasses prescription OR when their glasses become unserviceable through "fair wear and tear" (this has to be at least 2 years after the glasses were made).
Can I have an NHS eye exam before I'm due/ been sent a reminder?
Eligible patients are entitled to have an early eye exam only if they feel their vision may have changed or if they are having new issue with their eyes/ vision. The NHS doesn't allow an early test just because a patient wants new glasses or has lost theirs.
Should I worry if I suddenly see black spots before my eyes?
Most people do have some black spots (otherwise known as floaters) and if they have been present for a long time then they are unlikely to be a problem. If new floaters suddenly develop then this could be a sign of a retinal detachment and it is then recommended that you be seen immediately by an optician.
What is the difference between an Optometrist and an Optician?
An Optometrist is the name given to an optician who tests eyes. A Dispensing Optician fits and supplies glasses.
What is a cataract and how is it treated?
Cataracts commonly develop with age and are cloudy patches in the lens of the eye, this then blurs the vision. There is an operation that can remove the eyes natural lens and replace it with a plastic one, thereby improving the vision. This service is provided free on the NHS once the cataracts reach a certain maturity.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure inside the eye increases and this causes a narrowing of the field of vision. It is usually treated with drops but sometimes can need surgery. Anyone over 40 and with a direct family member who has Glaucoma is entitled to a free NHS sight test as their risk of developing it is slightly higher.
What is Macular Degeneration?
There are two types of Age-related Macula Degeneration (AMD) and they both cause a loss of central vision over time. Dry AMD causes gradual loss over a number of years and currently there is no treatment. Wet AMD is cause by blood vessel leakage which leads to swelling, it occurs very quickly but often there is treatment for this if caught early.
What is dry eye?
Dry eye is where the eye does not produce enough or not good enough quality tears. This leads to them feeling irritated, gritty or sore. There are many different causes and treatments for dry eye so it is best to get your eyes tested to find the most appropriate one for you.
How can Diabetes affect eyes?
Diabetes can cause changes to the blood vessels at the back of the eyes (Retinopathy) and this is the biggest cause of blindness of working age people in the UK. By keeping sugar levels well controlled, diabetics reduce their risk of this occurring. Uncontrolled sugar level can also cause fluctuations in vision, fluctuations in the glasses prescription, increased risk of cataract and glaucoma. Annually diabetics are screened by the NHS using eye drops and photographs of the retina; they should also regularly have an optician eye test which is also covered by the NHS.
What does long and short sighted mean?
Short sighted means that distance vision is blurry but near vision clear. It often starts in the teens or twenties. Long sighted is where detailed vision is more of an effort especially at near and this can lead to blurred vision, tiredness and sometimes headaches. Both conditions can easily be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Why does close vision getting harder in middle age?
This is known as presbyopia where the muscles in the eyes that are needed to focus on close objects, loses their elasticity which leads to blurring, tiredness and sometimes headaches. Reading glasses improve this (but these blur distance vision while they're on) or varifocals correct distance and near at the same time.
What is conjunctivitis?
This infection makes the eyes go red, sore and produce discharge. It can be caused by bacteria in which case the eyes become sticky and an antibiotic can help. Alternatively it may be viral (more watery discharge) and this cannot be treated. Both are very contagious but ultimately will go away without any treatment.
What’s the difference between a squint and a lazy eye?
These terms are often confused and can happen on their own or in combination.
A squint (Strabismus) is where the muscles in the eye do not work perfectly so that eye turns. Glasses, exercises or surgery are often used to correct this.
A lazy eye (Amblyopia) is where one eye sees poorly due to the corresponding part of the brain not developing properly in young age (up to 6 yrs old). If caught early it may be treatable with glasses and/or patching of the good eye but once the developed cannot be treated at all.
What is ortho K?
Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is the fitting of a specially designed, highly gas-permeable lens to be worn overnight. While asleep, the lens gently reshapes the front surface of the eye. The following day's vision is then clear (without the need for glasses or daytime contact lens wear). This treatment is completely reversible and carries no greater risk to the eye than normal contact lenses do.
What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a condition where the edges of the eyelids become red and swollen. It can cause the eyes to itch, feel gritty and become sore. Being a chronic condition, it can be managed well.
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a condition that causes the cornea to weaken, get thinner and change shape. This causes the glasses prescription to change, sometimes dramatically and the vision to get progressively worse. There are new therapies for this or rigid gas-permeable lenses often give clearer vision than glasses or soft lenses.