Eye Exams

You should have an eye examination at least every 2 years.

Eye examinations are much more than checks for whether you need glasses - we also carry out a range of tests to assess the health of your eyes. They can help detect problems like glaucoma or diabetic eye disease before you notice the effect on your sight.

Early treatment can often prevent your sight from getting worse - and may even save your sight.

What happens in an eye examination?

An eye examination will normally take about 30 minutes. It should include:

  • 500x500_fitbox-flash41.jpegHistory and symptoms - We will discuss any problems you may be having with your eyesight and/or health in general. Some eye conditions are health-related, and certain types of medication can affect your vision.
  • Current spectacles - If you already wear glasses we will check the lens type and strength, and establish how well you see with them.
  • Refraction - This will reveal whether you need glasses, whether you are long-sighted, short-sighted, astigmatic and/or presbyopic, and how strong the lenses needs to be. We check your long distance vision, your reading vision and  your intermediate vision (particularly relevant if you use a computer).
  • Oculomotor balance - This test checks that your eye muscles are working together properly so that your eyes are balanced and co-ordinated.
  • Ophthalmoscopy - This is a check of the internal health of your eyes. An instrument called an ophthalmoscope is shone into the eye so that we can see the internal parts clearly. Conditions such as cataracts, hypertension, glaucoma, diabetes and macular degeneration can be indicated from ophthalmoscopic examination.
  • Pupil reflexes - The pupil automatically dilates and constricts to control the amount of light passing into the eye. If the pupil reflex isn't working normally it can indicate underlying neurological problems, requiring further investigation.

All adults will also undergo the following tests, which are particularly useful in detecting, amongst other things, the early signs of glaucoma:

  • Visual field test - This checks your peripheral vision - you will be shown patterns of light on a screen to test which ones you can see.
  • Intraocular pressure test - which measures internal pressure in the eyes.

250x250_fitbox-_dsc0572.jpegWe can now also offer an amazing 3D OCT retinal scan to those patients with any signs, symptoms or family history of glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or other systemic eye disease. The OCT scans, until recently only available in specialist eye hospitals like Moorfields, can enable early detection and monitoring of these conditions, which can prove crucial in the prevention of sight loss. Click here for more information.

We can also take a detailed photograph of your retina using a fundus camera. This is less detailed than the OCT scan but is still a very useful tool in identifying any underlying problems. Any changes in the appearance of the retina from one visit to the next are of particular interest and can help with early detection and treatment.

At the end of your eye examination the results will be explained and discussed with you, and our Optometrist will be happy to answer any questions you may have. You will be given a copy of your spectacle prescription if you need glasses.

If you are a driver the eye examination will ensure that you meet the standard of vision legally required.

NB - An eye examination is not the same as a contact lens check-up, which is an additional annual requirement for contact lens wearers.

checklist.jpgChecklist of details your optometrist will need to know:

  • Glasses you wear and/or your last spectacle prescription;
  • Tablets or medicine you are taking;
  • The name of your doctor;
  • Information about your health;
  • Information about eye health problems in your family.

Can I have an NHS-funded eye examination?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you are entitled to NHS eye examinations:

  • Are you aged 60 or over?
  • Are you under 16, or under 19 and in full-time education?
  • Are you or your partner receiving income support, guarantee pension credit, income-based jobseekers allowance, or tax credits with a valid NHS tax credits exemption certificate?
  • Are you named on a valid NHS low income scheme HC2 certificate (or HC3 certificate for partial help with cost of test)?
  • Are you entitled to vouchers for complex lenses?
  • Do you have diabetes or glaucoma?
  • Are you 40 or over and have a close relative with glaucoma?
  • Does an ophthalmologist say you are at risk of glaucoma?
  • Are you registered blind or partially-sighted?

Some of the above groups are also entitled to NHS help with the cost of new glasses (in the form of a voucher) - give us a call (01580 715008) or pop into the practice for more details.

Please note that we are required by the Kent NHS Primary Care Agency to see evidence of any qualifying benefits at the time of your sight test and/or spectacle dispensing, as well as your national insurance number.


VDU Users

If you use a VDU at work, by law you can ask your employer to provide and pay for an eye examination. If you require glasses specifically for computer use your employer is also obliged to help with the cost of these.

See your company personnel/human resources/health and safety officer for details.


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