At-home eye tests are very similar to the ones you would have experienced in store, just with a few adjustments and specialist equipment to make them home-friendly. All of our visiting opticians are fully experienced in conducting eye tests at home, so you can be sure you, or someone you care for, will receive the same care and attention you’re used to. 

Home eye tests explained

The typical home eye test begins with your optician visiting your home on a pre-arranged day, and they will usually call an hour before to check it's still convenient. They'll then ask about your eyecare history and any problems you may be having, before carrying out an eye test with specialised equipment for use in the home. You can learn about the full procedure below, including the types of test we’ll carry out. 

 
 

Before the test

We’ll give you the name of your optometrist before your visit so that you know who to expect at your front door. Sometimes they might also be joined by an optical assistant. Once they arrive, they’ll decide on the best area in your home for the test to take place. They may need to move around a bit of furniture to prepare the space, but in most cases, this isn’t necessary. If you have mobility issues or are bedbound, then the test can be done wherever you are most comfortable. We have specialist equipment that means we can adapt to your environment.  

Once you’re ready, the optometrist will begin by asking you (or a family member if patients are unable to give this information) about your eye health history and any symptoms or changes you may have experienced since your last test. They’ll then set up the equipment for your test, including an electronic test chart that allows us to test your eyes in any size space. 

Types of eye test performed at home

Your optometrist will then carry out several tests to assess your vision, as well as checking the overall health of your eyes by testing for specific eye conditions.

Using a handheld tonometer, your optometrist will check the pressure in your eyes (intraocular
pressure) to assess whether you might be at risk of developing glaucoma. Here, they may also
conduct a visual field test to test your peripheral (wide) vision, to check for other signs of glaucoma.

Your optometrist will also conduct an examination to take a closer look inside your eyes, which may
require the use of eye drops to dilate your pupil so they can view the inside of your eye more easily.
This is especially useful to monitor conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, alongside a number of
other eye problems.

Another important check is the way your eyes move and work together, checking this can make sure that you’re not experiencing any eye strain or double vision. They will also carry out some tests to assess your vision. Your optometrist will use a retinoscope to shine light into your eyes and check for any refractive error. This test can give us a very close reading for your prescription, without the need for you to respond. This is useful if, for instance, you or your loved one has dementia and finds it difficult to give subjective responses.

If you are able to, your optometrist might carry out further tests to help fine-tune their results. For
example, they might ask you to read from a letter chart (such as a Snellen test) at a distance to check your visual acuity, or ask you to wear a trial frame to test your vision with different strength lenses.

Choosing your glasses

Once your eye test is complete, the optometrist will tell you whether you need to begin wearing
glasses or update your current glasses prescription. They can talk you through our range of frames and lens options and help you decide on your perfect pair of glasses, and how to benefit from any offers that may be available to you.

If you qualify for NHS funding towards the cost of glasses, you may be eligible for a free pair of
glasses – check if you’re eligible here. In other cases, a Domiciliary Pricing Supplement of £25 may apply in addition to the cost of your glasses. This reflects the increased costs involved with delivering a domiciliary service to customers, such as making individual visits to deliver and adjust glasses in peoples’ homes. 

Your glasses delivery

Your new glasses should be ready within 14 days. We’ll let you know if they take any longer, as they need to be individually made to your prescription. You’ll also receive a written record of the outcome of your eye test and the glasses you’ve chosen. 

Once they’re ready, we’ll be in touch to schedule a convenient date for your glasses delivery and fitting. The same process is followed for your fitting visit as was for your home eye test — you will be contacted with information about your optical advisor and when they will be arriving. During the visit, your glasses will be adjusted for your comfort to ensure that you are happy with their fit. 
 
To minimise contact during COVID-19, it might be that your glasses are simply sent to you in the post. Your optometrist can give you more information should this be the case. 

Aftercare services

At the end of your visit, you will be given a local home visits number, should you need any further help in the future. If you have any concerns with your new glasses, our 3 month 'No quibble, no fuss' policy applies for at home visits the same as it would in store. If, during your test, your optician detects any symptoms that indicate a more serious condition, they may refer you to your GP or local hospital for further examination.

Arranging your home appointment

If you’re unsure whether you or some you care for qualifies for a free NHS-funded eye test at home, visit our eligibility page to check. You can arrange a home visit by contacting your local home-visiting
team or by completing an online form here

When you speak to a member of the team they’ll check that they have your correct details and will ask if you would like any family members to be present during our visit to make you feel more comfortable. 

Keeping you safe

We understand that you may have some concerns around health and hygiene at this time, so we’ve taken a number of steps to ensure that you and your optician remain safe during our home visits. 

  • Each of our visiting opticians have carried out specialist training on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control. 
  • They will thoroughly disinfect equipment and surfaces used in your home to ensure that everything is sterile, and adhere to high standards of handwashing.
  • Your optician will always put on new PPE (including face masks, aprons and gloves) during each home visit, and if you are able to, you might also be asked to wear a face mask too.

If you have any questions or concerns about safety, feel free to ask a member of our team when you book your home visit. Or click here to read more.