Your eye exam questions

Do I have to pay for my eye examination?

How often should I get my eyes tested?

Can I come in for an eye test before I am due?

How long will the eye examination take?

I can see fine, why should I get my eyes tested?

Can I go to any of your four practices to get my eyes tested?

Will I have drops as part of my eye test?

Do you do home visits?

 

Children’s eyecare questions

What age should I bring my child for their first eye test? 

Do you have a range of children’s glasses?

 

Contact lens questions

Do you prescribe contact lenses?

 

Glasses questions

Do you have any sunglasses/do you have any 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? 

I have a high prescription, can anything be done to make my glasses look cosmetically better?

Do I get any help with the cost of glasses?

 

Do I have to pay for my eye examination?

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 16-60every two years

•Age 60 – 70every 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, you have glaucoma or are over 40 and have a direct family history of glaucoma. 

If you are uncertain as to how often you should get your eyes tested please ask a member of staff.

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Can I come in for an eye test before I am due?

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. 

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How long will the eye examination take?

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. 

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I can see fine, why should I get my eyes tested?

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. 

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Can I go to any of your four practices to get my eyes tested?

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. 

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Will I have drops as part of my eye test?

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. 

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Do you do home visits?

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. 

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What age should I bring my child for their first eye test? 

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.  

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Do you have a range of children’s glasses?

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. 

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Do you prescribe contact lenses?

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!

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Do you have any sunglasses/do you have any prescription sunglasses?

We have a wide range of sunglasses from designer brands such as Ray-Ban and Guess 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. 

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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. 

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I have a high prescription, can anything be done to make my glasses look cosmetically better?

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. 

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Do I get any help with the cost of glasses?

The government offer help with the cost of your glasses if you fall into one of the following groups:

  • 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

If you do not fall into one of these groups but are on a low income you can apply to the government to see if you qualify for help under the NHS low income scheme. To do this you need to fill in a HC1 form. We have copies of this form in our practices – please just pop in and ask for one. 

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