Q & A

Am I entitled to a free eye examination through the NHS?

You are entitled to an eye examination paid for by the NHS if:

you are under 16 years of age or you are under 19 years of age and in full time education

you or your partner are getting income support or you or your partner are getting family credit

you are over 60 years of age and you suffer from glaucoma

you are over 40 years of age and have a family history of glaucoma

you require certain types of complex lenses and you are registered as blind or partially sighted


Can I get help, towards the cost of glasses?

If you fall into any of the first four categories above you will get help towards the cost of glasses.

If you require complex lenses you may get a small allowance.


If I am on a low income or a student but do not qualify in the above groups can I get help?

You can apply for help towards the cost of eyecare by submitting a form AG1 to the DSS.

These forms are available at most Opticians, Dentists, Post Offices and Benefit offices.


Will I have to pay additional fees for extra tests?

No. It is our policy at Perfect Vision that all of our patients, whether NHS or private receive the same high level of eye care. Our eye examination fee is £30.


Do I need to see my Doctor before I can have an eye examination?

No. All you need to do is make an appointment. You can ring, email us or just call in. We may even be able to see you without an appointment.


Will new glasses be expensive?

It is our policy to only recommend new glasses or a change in prescription when we have fully discussed the results of your examination with you, thus enabling you to make an informed decision. We will never pressurise you to spend more than you want to and will be happy to help you find the perfect pair of glasses to suit your style and means. We stock a wide variety of frames that span a range of prices, from those available at no charge under the NHS scheme up to handmade niche and designer frames. Our emphasis is on fashion and quality that is accessible to everyone.


Why do my spectacle lenses have to be so thick and heavy?

They don't! Modern lens materials mean that lenses can be made much thinner and lighter nowadays. Frames can also be lightweight and durable; modern styles are also very neat and ideal for higher prescriptions. For more information go to our lenses page.


Why should I have my eyes examined, even if I feel like I can see without any problems?

An eye examination should be part of your regular healthcare routine. Determining the need for glasses is only one facet of the examination - it also includes a full health check of your eyes, inside and out. Some conditions, such as glaucoma, are more common as we get older and do not cause any symptoms until permanent visual loss has occurred. As well as eye related concerns such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, a range of systemic conditions including diabetes, hypertension, anaemia & multiple sclerosis can be detected too. Early detection is often the key to effective management, so regular attendance is important. We will advise you when we would recommend your next appointment, and our computerised recall system will automatically send you a reminder when you are due.


How often should I have my eyes examined?

On average about every two years. Children should also be seen at least every year and in many cases every six months. From what age can a child's eyes be tested? Children can have their eyes examined at any age. They do not have to be able to read the letters, or even speak (although it helps if they can!). If there is a family history of a lazy (amblyopic) eye, a squint, or needing very strong spectacles as a young child, it is vital that you take your child for an eye examination. Ask your optometrist at what age they would recommend you take their child to see them. There is no charge for children under 16 to have their eyes examined under the NHS.


Are floaters a sign of eye problems?

Most people, particularly if they are short sighted, have some floaters inside their eyes. These appear as little black spots or 'flies' which appear to float around in front of your sight. They move when you move your eyes and are normally more obvious when you are looking at a plain pale background (like a cloudless sky). They are normally quite innocent, but if you get a shower of floaters, if you see lots of floaters after you have banged your head, or if you see flashing lights in your eyes or a 'curtain' or 'veil' in front of your eyes you should seek urgent medical attention. More information on floaters can be found on www.moorfields.org.uk/EyeHealth/Floaters.


Does wearing glasses make you dependent upon them?

There is no evidence to suggest that wearing spectacles makes you more dependent on them. Most people need to wear spectacles more as they get older, particularly if they are long-sighted, and wearing spectacles does not increase (or decrease) this dependence. In fact, their vision is not actually worse than it was before they had the spectacles, but they have become accustomed to seeing more comfortably because they have spectacles. Vision may fluctuate throughout your life time so don't be afraid to wear your glasses as prescribed.


I get very confused when I see all the contact lens care solutions that are available today.  How do I know which to use?

As always follow the advice of your Optician, they will be only too pleased to ensure that you are looking after your contact lenses (and your eyes) properly. Never be tempted to cut corners when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting your lenses. Our Contact Lens Replacement Scheme gives you 10% discount on all contact lens solutions as well as low cost replacement lenses and ensures regular contact lens checkups.


I have astigmatism can I wear contact lenses?

Many people with astigmatism - (irregular shaped eyes) can now be fitted with contact lenses. Gas permeable contact lenses will correct moderate degrees of astigmatism quite well. In higher degrees of astigmatism special types of lenses called toric lenses can be used. These can be soft or gas permeable. Soft lenses for astigmatism are now available in all the different types of disposable from the new silicone hydrogel material to daily disposable and have recently been significantly increased in the range of powers available in each of these.


I have now reached the age where I need separate glasses for reading. Can I have contact lenses to correct this?

Yes. There are various options of how we can correct this, but now we also have the advantage of the latest silicone hydrogel soft lenses available as a multifocal. These work very easily and create big advantages over other forms and even spectacles themselves as you can read at any height in front of the eye, which could prove a huge advantage for computer use - please enquire.


What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the name for a disease process which causes damage to the retinal nerve fibres. This results in gradual loss of vision and potential blindness. Fortunately, it can usually be managed with prompt detection and treatment. No one test is used to detect glaucoma, your optician will use results from a number of tests to assess the health of your eyes.