National Eye Health Week

National Eye Health Week is this week!

Did you know that sight is the sense that people fear to lose the most and yet it is the least regularly attended health check?

Many things in the body are attributed to the eye and in many cases can be the ‘window’ to your body’s health. From brain tumours to high blood pressure can be detected from an eye check. Regardless of the fact that you may or may not need glasses, having an eye test is more of a health check that you should have at the very least every 2 years and if you have diabetes and other health conditions, every year.

Many people however are eligible for a free eye test under NHS guidelines. Getting your eyes tested regularly is an important and often overlooked exercise that doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Free Eye Test Criteria

  • You’re aged 60 or over
  • You’re aged under 16
  • You’re in full time education and are aged 16, 17 or 18
  • You’re registered as partially sighted or blind
  • You’re over 40 years old and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed as suffering with glaucoma
  • You’ve been diagnosed as suffering with diabetes or glaucoma
  • You’re eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher
  • You’re a prisoner on leave from prison

A free eye test is also available under the following conditions:

  • You receive income support
  • You receive income based jobseekers allowance (not contribution based)
  • You receive pension credit guarantee credit
  • You receive income based employment and support allowance
  • You are awarded universal credit
  • You are entitled to or named on a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • You are named on a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

You may also be entitled to help if you are on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3).

Check with your local Optician their availability – like us they may have limited appointments due to cleaning between patients.

What happens during an eye check?

  • They will ask your medical history and your usual identification checks
  • They may use machines to check your vision and your eye pressure
  • They will then have a look into your eye and test your vision in many different ways – don’t worry if you struggle with letters – they have tests that can be used where people struggle, such as with learning difficulties and aphasia
  • They will talk to you about their examination as they go, so that you know what to expect
  • They will let you know about the health of your eyes, internally and externally

Did you know that a lot of people experience ‘dry eyes’? With more computer use where we don’t blink enough, Opticians are seeing an increase in drier eyes. You can reduce your constant stare at a screen or tablet, blink more and look away more from the screen. You can visit the Pharmacist or your Optician for comfort eye drops to pop into your eyes to lubricate them. Pharmacists are also a great source of support with minor eye troubles, such as hayfever.

As ever, if you experience any acute eye problems, you should call us or visit a minor eye condition Opticians. Some equipment such as a slit lamp magnifies the eye’s surface to see if there is any damage to your cornea – Doctors do not have this handy piece of equipment in the Practice, so it is always good to check with the Doctors first, who will point you to the right clinician to help.

Above all, get a regular eye check – it can save a life.

Your Team at Mickleover Medical Centre