The NHS recommends that adults have an eye test every two years – not only to check changes in your vision but also the health of your eyes.
At Specsavers we run a series of tests that give the optometrist a full analysis of your eye health. This means they can offer care that best suits you and your lifestyle.
Keeping you safe in store
- When you come for your appointment one of our team will meet you and talk you through the store distancing and hygiene measures in place
- We’re limiting the number of people in store at one time. Children or vulnerable people can be accompanied by an adult or carer but otherwise please attend alone
- To help us keep at least two metres apart, we will put stickers on the floor to help guide you through the store
- We’ll have hand sanitiser available to customers and colleagues throughout the store
- Our team will be wearing personal protective equipment that will be changed regularly
- We will be thoroughly disinfecting test rooms and testing equipment after each person we see
- If you try on frames, we’ll ask you to give them back to us when you’re done so we can give them a good clean before they’re tried on or touched again
Before you come in, a few things to remember:
- If you wear glasses:
Please bring your current pair to your appointment.
- If you wear contact lenses:
Please bring your glasses, contact lenses and, if you use them, case and solution, as you’ll need to remove your lenses for the examination.
- If you're having an NHS funded eye test:
Please bring relevant proof that you qualify.
Please be mindful of local coronavirus restrictions when attending your appointment.
What happens in an eye test?
There are three main parts involved in our typical eye tests:
History and symptoms
This gives you the opportunity to discuss any concerns you have about your eyes, vision or current glasses, and whether you’re experiencing any symptoms which might need further investigation. Your optometrist will ask about your general health, medications, any past treatment on your eyes, or if there are any family members with eye conditions. All this information helps them to tailor the examination to best suit your needs.
We use a variety of tests and equipment to assess different aspects of your eye health and vision. Some are common to all eye tests – for example, the letter chart indicates how clearly you can see – while others may be used when further investigations are required, for example, to check if your eyes can see colour normally.
Some of the common tests, like the visual field test and the eye pressure test (puff of air test), can be performed by an optical assistant on behalf of the optometrist before the eye examination. These are known as pre-tests and help to make the process more efficient.
Summary and advice
Once all the relevant tests have been carried out, your optometrist will be able to discuss the results and offer any advice. This could be a simple ‘all clear’ on the eye health front, or they might talk you through particular lens options to match your prescription and lifestyle.
Treatments for any eye conditions are also discussed at this point, as well as possible referral to a specialist.
A tonometer will blow a gentle puff of air onto the surface of each eye to measure the internal pressure.
This is one of a variety of tests that allows the optometrist to assess your risk of developing glaucoma.
This machine measures the ability of your eyes to focus and can be used to assess how long- or short-sighted you are. Your optical assistant will ask you to stare into the machine through two lenses and focus on a picture. The machine will make the picture appear closer and then further away and, as it does this, it calculates an estimation of your prescription with how well your eyes focus on the image. Read more about automated refraction eye tests here.
Digital retinal photography (DRP)
The optical assistant may then take a photograph of the back of your eyes using a fundus camera. This image is saved and will be useful in monitoring changes in eye health on future visits. All of these pre-tests can be performed on separate pieces of equipment or on a single multifunctional machine.
The optometrist will check the health of your eyes and look for signs of other medical conditions. They will ask you if you are experiencing any eye problems and about your general eye health and lifestyle. It is important to have a clear understanding of your needs so that we can select the best management plan and/or corrective lenses for you.
Your optometrist will carry out a number of different tests using a range of specialist equipment:
Retinoscopy: This is used to get an estimate of the ability of your eyes to focus and can be used to assess how long- or short-sighted you are. This test can also be used with children or for someone who cannot easily describe their vision. While looking at the red and green light in the distance, your optometrist will shine a light in each eye. They will then place a number of different lenses in front of each eye to calculate a prescription for each eye. Read more about retinoscopy here.
Vision test: To fine-tune their findings, the optometrist will ask you to read from a Snellen test chart, that's the one with the letters that get smaller. This test measures your visual acuity, i.e. how well you can see with and without lenses in front of your eyes. This use of lenses is known as refraction and lets the optometrist know which strength prescription gives you the best vision possible.
Ophthalmoscope: This specialist torch is used to examine the retina at the back of the eye, your optic nerve and its blood vessels to make sure they are healthy.
Slit lamp test: A slit lamp (also known as a Volk lens) is a powerful microscope that is used to examine the front surface of the eyes. Your optometrist will use this to check for abnormalities or scratches on your cornea, iris and lens. It is a particularly important check for contact lens wearers.
Visual field check: This test will assess your ability to detect flashes of light in your peripheral vision. Visual field tests are often used to detect early stages of glaucoma or any conditions that could be associated with headaches and other health issues.
OCT scan: Ask your local store if they offer OCT scanning so you can add it to your normal eye test. OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) is a hospital-grade eye scan that helps us to view the structures of your eye in even greater detail.
Using light waves to create a 3D image of your eye, it can help our optometrists spot signs of eye health issues up to four years earlier than traditional methods. Many of these conditions, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, form at the very back of the eye so it's really helpful to be able to take a much closer look using the scan results.
Your optometrist will ask you to look into a machine while the scan takes place - it takes just a few seconds to complete. Not only does OCT allow your optometrist to keep track of your eye health, but previous scans can be used to monitor subtle changes over time.
Your eye test results
At the end of your eye exam, your optometrist will give you a copy of the prescription and can answer any further questions you may have. They will then recommend the best options for you – this might be glasses, contact lenses or maybe a referral to explore any eye conditions that have shown up in your eye test.
Wondering if you need an eye test?
Book an OCT scan
OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) is a hospital-grade eye scan that helps us to view the structures of your eye in even greater detail. Using light waves to create a 3D image of your eye, it can help our opticians to spot signs of eye health issues up to four years earlier than traditional methods.
Try our frames on virtually
If you need some new glasses, why not try Frame Styler. It uses facial analysis to select all the frames from our ranges that would look best on you. You’ll be able to see yourself wearing different frames in 3D virtual try on – great if you already wear glasses, as you can see clearly while you ‘try on’ new styles.
Your contact lens appointment
If you’re coming in for a contact lens appointment it will be a bit different to
an eye test, especially if you’re new to contact lenses, but we’ll guide
you through the process.
Read more to find our what is involved in a contact lens appointment.