Children’s eyecare questions
There are obvious difficulties in testing very young children, however, we can get a reasonable amount of information simply by examining a child’s eyes – they don’t necessarily have to say anything or know their letters. We have special charts with pictures that decrease in size that allows us to find out what your child can see.
As a general rule we can test children from the age of 3 upwards but if you have any concerns about your child’s eyes at any age you should bring them to see an optician in the first instance – we can always arrange for them to see the relevant health care professional if the need arises.
We do! We have a range of children’s styles suitable for any age. All children under the age of 16 (or under 18 if in full time education) get their lenses paid for by the government (see Do I get any help with the cost of glasses?) and we have a range where the voucher granted by the government also covers the cost of the frame too.
Contact lens questions
Yes we do! What’s more, as we are independent, we can pick from a huge range of different types of contact lenses.
With so many contact lenses on the market it can be very hard to choose the right one for you. Do your lenses offer the best possible vision? Do you wish they were comfortable enough to wear all day? Would you like to wear your lenses for longer but are worried about damaging your eyes?
We have developed a contact lens option sheet that allows you to decide what parts of contact lens wear are important to you and which lenses fit those requirements.
Want lenses for sport and are on a budget? – A daysoft daily disposable would probably suit!
Difficulty with close work with your contact lenses and want to wear them all day – why not try a biofinity multifocal?
Ask your optician to take you through our contact lens option sheet and let them fix your contact lens problems!
I have a sore eye/My eyes have gone red/ I can’t see as well as I normally do – Should I go to the GP or the optician?
Your GP is unlikely to have access to the specialised equipment and training that opticians have so your first port of call for eye care should always be your optician. We will assess your eye health and treat the problem ourselves if we can or direct you to the most relevant health care professional if we can’t. We have a list of phone numbers that allow us to rapidly access the eye department at the hospital in the case of an emergency.
Please do bear in mind though, we are not set up to offer a walk-in eye casualty service. Please phone ahead to book your appointment. We do not have an optician available at every location at all times but will always make arrangement to have you seen by an optometrist as soon as is appropriate (even if it’s at a different practice).
If we are closed and you have an eye emergency phone NHS 24 for advice on 111
- feelings of dryness, grittiness or soreness that get worse throughout the day
- red eyes
- eyelids that stick together when you wake up
- temporarily blurred vision, which usually improves when you blink
- being in a hot or windy climate
- wearing contact lenses
- certain underlying medical conditions, such as blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
- side effects of certain medications
- hormonal changes in women
- keeping your eyes and eyelids clean and protecting them from dusty, smoky, windy and dry environments
- using your computer or laptop correctly to avoid eye strain
- using a humidifier to moisten the air
- eating a healthy diet that includes omega-3 fats
- anterior blepharitis – where the inflammation affects the skin around the base of your eyelashes
- posterior blepharitis – where the inflammation affects your Meibomian glands (found on the inside edge of your eyelids)
- eye pain
- sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- disturbed vision
- intense redness in one or both of your eyes
- chronic open-angle glaucoma – this is the most common type of glaucoma and develops very slowly. It is often painless with no obvious symptoms until the condition is fairly advanced.
- primary angle-closure glaucoma – this is rare and can occur slowly (chronic) or may develop rapidly (acute) with a sudden, painful build-up of pressure in the eye
- secondary glaucoma – this occurs as a result of an eye injury or another eye condition, such as uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye)
- developmental glaucoma (congenital glaucoma) – this is rare but can be serious. It is usually present at birth or develops shortly after birth. It is caused by an abnormality of the eye
- you may find it more difficult to see in dim or very bright light
- the glare from bright lights may be dazzling or uncomfortable to look at
- colours may look faded or less clear
- everything may have a yellow or brown tinge
- you may have double vision
- you may see a halo (a circle of light) around bright lights, such as car headlights or street lights
- if you wear glasses, you may find that they become less effective over time
- a history of cataracts in your family
- regularly drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
- a poor diet lacking in vitamins
- lifelong exposure of your eyes to sunlight
- taking corticosteroid medication at a high dose or for a long time
- previous eye surgery or injury
- certain health conditions, such as diabetes or long-term uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye)
- difficulty reading because the text appears blurry
- colours appearing less vibrant
- difficulty recognising people’s faces
- stopping smoking if you smoke
- eating a healthy diet high with plenty of fruit and vegetables
- moderating your consumption of alcohol
- trying to achieve or maintain a healthy weight
- wearing UV-absorbing glasses when outside for long periods
- A sudden appearance of floaters or an increase in their size and number.
- Flashes of light and/or a change/increase in the flashing lights you experience.
- Blurring of vision.
- A dark “curtain” moving up, down or across your vision, as this may mean that the retina has already partially detached.
- the sudden appearance of floaters – dark spots that float in your field of vision
- sudden short flashes of light in one eye
- a solid black shape or “curtain” coming over the vision in your eye
We have a wide range of sunglasses from designer brands such as Ray-Ban and Radley to our budget sunset+ range. We choose our sunglasses with care making sure that all are glazable to your prescription. We also have a long term money-saving offer – buy a complete pair of spectacles and you get 1/3rd off the cost of a pair of prescription sunglasses.
When I take my glasses off I can’t see well and this makes choosing a new frame difficult, can you suggest anything that will help me?
This is a very common problem! We have an app on our ipad that allows us to take a photo of you wearing different frames. We can then show you how others will see you in your new glasses.
We offer a very wide range of lenses with lots of different options. Lenses can be thinned down by up to 50% meaning they not only look better they feel lighter and more comfortable on your face. Please ask your optician for details.
- Are aged under 16
- Are aged 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education
- Receive Income Support
- Receive Income-related Employment and support allowance (ESA)
- Receive Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Hold a valid NHS Tax Credit Exception Certificate
- Hold a valid HC2 certificate
Your eye exam questions
Eye examinations are free for everyone on the NHS. You may be charged if you wish a second eye examination before the recommended NHS test interval unless you have a good reason (for example, you feel that your vision has changed). You may be charged for contact lens aftercare appointments depending on the payment plan for your contact lenses.
How often should I get my eyes tested?
The NHS recommend you get your eyes tested in the following intervals:
•Up to age 16 every year
•Age 16-60 every two years
•Age 60 – 70 every year or every two years depending on your optician’s recommendation
•Age 70+ every year
You should also have a yearly examination if you are diabetic.
If you are uncertain as to how often you should get your eyes tested please ask a member of staff.
If you have a problem with your eyes (for example, if you feel you can no longer see as well as you did at your last eye examination or your eyes are sore) the you can ask for an earlier appointment and this would be funded by the NHS. Unfortunately, the NHS will not pay for an eye test if you just want a new pair of glasses and you think your prescription is the same as it was at the last eye examination. So there may be a charge in this situation.
Your optician may also wish to see you sooner than the recommended testing interval if they wish to repeat some tests on you or check up on an eye condition. In these cases your examination would be paid for by the NHS.
R.D. McFarlane and Nicol’s Opticians set aside at least 30 minutes (often 40) for each eye exam. This time is spent entirely with your optician giving you plenty of opportunity to discuss your results with them.
Eye examinations do much more than check whether you need glasses or not. They check the health of your eyes and look for conditions like Glaucoma, Cataract and Macular Degeneration and can give an early indication of underlying health problems such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and even Stroke.
You are quite welcome to come and get your eyes tested at any of our practices, however, your records will be held at your most frequented practice and this may mean a delay if your optician needs to refer back to a previous examination.
If you are aged 60 or over you will be offered eye drops as part of your eye examination. These drops dilate your pupils and help your optician get a really good look inside your eyes. The drops sting for a second or two, can make your vision blurred and can make bright lights uncomfortable to look at for a couple of hours. If your vision is affected by the drops we recommend that you do not drive until your vision has returned to normal. The instillation of drops as part of your test is only an offer – you are not under an obligation to accept them if you do not want them or if you have to drive after your appointment.
NHS home visits are available for those patients who cannot make it into our practices due to health reasons. Please give us a call on the numbers above to arrange your examination.