You feel your eyes are healthy and you can see clearly, so you are probably thinking I don’t need an eye test…
Why do I need regular eye tests?
Well just as your car needs an MOT and service every year, regardless of whether you feel your car needs it or not, your eyes do need an eye test.
In fact, even if you don’t feel any discomfort and your eyesight seems clear then your eyes should STILL be examined every 2 years at least.
Many conditions can manifest which may not be picked up unless an eye test is performed.
Conditions you may have without noticing
Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels are all vascular conditions that can be found in the eyes, and opticians can be the first professionals to pick these up.
Quite often the optometrist will find these health problems in a routine eye examination and then refer to the GP, who can then confirm if the vascular findings are due to any of the aforementioned health issues.
What does an eye test entail?
The first half of an eye test is usually checking the vision and calculating the prescription, with the other half of the time spent assessing the ocular health. The eye really is a window in the body and when we view the fine blood vessels of the eyes if there are any vessel changes or leaks there this could indicate an underlying medical problem.
There are also the autoimmune diseases such as arthritis which can cause ocular complications or thyroid disease and even cancer is capable of affecting the eyes!
Cataract, glaucoma, and even macular degeneration in their early stages cause no obvious symptoms or warning signs so how would you know if they are coming? Surely you would want to know if you were developing one of these eye problems.
Eye test for driving
Motorists who need glasses or contact lenses but drive without them, increase their risk of an accident by four times, recent research has found.
A survey of over 2,000 people conducted by Direct Line Car Insurance found that 16% of drivers have had an accident in the past two years, but this figure increased to 67% for those who needed glasses or contacts but didn’t always wear them.
Did you know your car insurance is invalidated if you do not wear an optical correction when you are required to? It is a legal requirement to wear your spectacles or contact lenses if you are below the driving standard, and you could face a fine if you do not comply. It is an offence just the same as drink driving is breaking the law.
Your vision does change
Usually, vision changes are gradual and it is not always obvious that you would be below the driving standard. Not only is the driving vision measured for the above in a sight test, often if there is suspicion your peripheral vision could be an issue then a visual field test is required, which assesses if you have any blind spots in your vision. Again, if you have a visual field defect it would have to be quite an advanced loss before you would even notice there was a problem. You certainly don’t want to be bumping into things before you realise there is an issue!
Eye tests for children
It is vital that young children have an eye examination when they start school. If there is a “lazy eye” or blurred vision that could be causing difficulty at school, then not only will learning be affected, but children can have permanently reduced vision if they haven’t had an eye test before they are six to seven years old. Certainly, poor concentration can be related to a child who is not comfortable visually.
EVERYONE should have regular eye examinations, so don’t delay!