Eye examinations not only ensure your sight and its deterioration is monitored but they also can detect potentially blinding eye conditions and other health issues such as blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. It is recommended that even if you have no known problems with your sight that adults should have an eye test every two years. If problems or issues are found then it may be recommended by your optometrist that the frequency is increased to annual or six month check-ups.
Although in the UK people often refer to a specialist in eye-care as an Optician, there are actually three different types of eye specialists that you should be aware of.
Dispensing opticians can give advice on, fit and supply spectacles, they can advise and dispense low vision aids to the partially sighted and give advice and dispense to children.
If a dispensing optician wished to fit and provide aftercare for contact lenses they will have to complete further specialist training.
An optometrist is not a doctor but they are highly trained specialists and are the most likely to perform your eye test. They can detect, treat and prescribe treatment to help in the management of most common eye conditions. An Optometrist can prescribe and fit glasses, contact lenses and other vision aids alongside recommending eye strengthening exercises and therapy.
Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians are both regulated by the General Optical Council in the United kingdom. The General Optical Council are the regulator for the Optical professions in the UK.
An ophthalmologist is a medically trained doctor who commonly acts as both physician and surgeon. They examine, diagnose and treat diseases and injuries in and around the eye.
In order to be able to practice in the UK, an ophthalmologist must be registered with a licence to practice with the General Medical Council.
What can you expect in an eye test?
An eye test should take approximately 20 minutes and your optometrist should be asking whether you have any specific concerns or whether you are attending for a routine eye test. Your optometrist may ask about your general health and medication and whether any of your family have a history of eye problems to get an all-round picture.
The interior of your eye will be examined using an ophthalmoscope which allows a detailed study of your eye’s internal structure. You may be offered additional tests if necessary which will often result in additional charges however these may be essential to provide a complete overview by your optometrist.
Where can you see an Optical professional?
Most towns and cities in the UK have a number of Optical professionals that you can visit. From the multi branch chains to the smaller independent stores, everyone should be able to get an eye test performed with very little travel time necessary from their home.