In an ideal world, most people between 16-50 with healthy eyes should visit their optician once every two years. In reality, one in five adults almost never has an eye test, according to Mintel.
When to go more regularly if you’re 16-69
Your optician may suggest that you come every year instead, depending on the health of your eyes. Anyone with a family history of glaucoma or diabetes would be advised to have an eye test every year.
With desk jobs and addictions to our tablets, phones and laptops these days, we’re putting more strain on our eyes than ever before. If you start to notice redness, itchiness, unusual discharge or things start to get a bit blurry, see your optician as soon as possible.
If you’re over 70…
As we get older, age-related conditions like glaucoma and presbyopia – the need for reading glasses – start to become more common. Once you hit your 70s (or even 60s), it may be time to up those trips to the opticians for an eye test, perhaps going every year. Your optician can tell you what your individual needs are.
Children under 16…
Parents of young babies, whose eyes are still developing, should take them for an eye test at least every six months. A child’s eye is fully developed by the time they’re eight, so it’s important to take good care of them in those crucial first years. Although bear in mind that a prescription can develop after this age too.
If you have a child under 16, they’re entitled to a free NHS eye test, so make the most of it by taking them every year.
Dangers of not having regular eye tests
Catching a condition early could be the key to preventing serious problems like glaucoma (the second biggest cause of blindness). Many problems like diabetic retinopathy can be managed and treated, but only if they are caught early enough.
Our eyes are also the windows into the health of the rest of our body. An eye test can pick up on undetected diseases like diabetes and even high blood pressure.
Costs of an eye test
Biennial eye tests are entirely free in Scotland, and there are lots of people in England who will be eligible for NHS-funded eye tests. We pay for so many things like a Friday night pizza or a taxi when it’s raining — surely your eyes are worth paying for too?
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Catherine Halsey writes for a digital marketing agency on a variety of subjects. This article was written on behalf of Boots Opticians.