Home   >   Eye care   >   Eye test

Eye test

An eye test is carried out by a qualified optometrist. The test normally consists of a history and symptoms to determine the purpose of the visit and to highlight any areas which may need further investigation. Following this the optometrist will carry out a refraction to determine if glasses are required to correct your vision. The optometrist also has a look at the health of the eye using special machinery. Other tests are carried out as required.

How long does an eye test last for?

An eye test can take around 30 minutes to carry out, however this can sometimes take longer depending on the complexity of the patient.

How often should I have my eyes tested?

Normal routine eye examinations are advised every 2 years. However sometimes the optometrist may advise a more frequent visit due to a number of reasons, for example if your eye health needs monitoring or you are at risk of developing certain eye conditions. The optometrist will advise a recall period at the end of the examination.

Do I still need to have my eyes tested if I don’t have any problems?

Having your eyes tested routinely is important even if you do not have any problems with your vision. Eye test not only determine if you need glasses, they also allow the optometrist to detect any problems with the eye health and also general health. For example an optometrist can detect signs of diabetes in the eye.

How much do eye tests cost?

Eye tests in high street opticians can vary from £10-£25. Independent opticians may charge more depending on the level of service they provide. If you are eligible for NHS eye test you do not need to pay for the examination.

You are eligible for a free NHS sight test if you:

  • are under 16

  • are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education

  • are 60 or over

  • are registered as partially sighted or blind

  • have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma

  • are 40 or over and your mother, father, sibling or child has been diagnosed with glaucoma

  • have been advised by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) that you're at risk of glaucoma

  • are a prisoner on leave from prison

  • are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your optician can advise you about your entitlement

You're also entitled if you or your partner – including civil partner – receive, or you're under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone receiving:

  • Income Support

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit

  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria

If you're entitled to or named on:

  • a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate

  • a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)