Do I need an eye test?

Getting regular eye tests is an important part of maintaining good eye health. You should get regular eye tests whether you wear prescriptive lenses or not. Eye tests may also find early symptoms of other more serious conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.


How do you know you need an eye test?

There are some common tell-tale signs that let you know whether or not you need an eye test, these include:

  • If your eyes are severely dry, red or itchy
  • If you’re experiencing eye strain or headaches
  • If you often get dizzy and suffer from motion sickness
  • If you’ve noticed any changes to your vision
  • If you have diabetes or any other health condition that could affect your vision or eyes

How often do I need an eye test?

It is generally advised by eye care professionals to go for an eye check-up once every two years, even if you don’t notice any changes to your vision or eye health. This may be done earlier if you feel there are some noticeable changes in your eye health, or you begin to experience symptoms such as regular headaches, blurry vision and eye strain.

Your optician can identify any possible issues before any further damage is done to your eyes or vision. They will also take note of any change, no matter how slight, in your contact lens prescription requirements.

You will also need an up to date eye test if you are going to take a driving exam, or for certain jobs. If your have been prescribed contact lenses or glasses, these must be worn during examination.


How to book an eye test

There are various ways that you can book an eye test.

Some opticians have an online booking system that allows you to book an appointment through their website. An online search will easily find you the opticians most local to you. You can also ring the optician of your choice and arrange an appointment over the phone.

You can also pick a selection of opticians near you and personally walk instore and talk to each optician personally to get a feel of the practice and register in person.


Do I need to pay for an eye test

Whether or not you need to pay for an eye test depends on your status and where you go to get your eye test. Some people may be entitled to a free eye test [1].

Some opticians will offer free eye tests with the condition that you purchase your glasses or contact lenses directly from them. It is also relatively easy to find discounted or free eye test vouchers online, opticians regularly make these available as a way of bringing in new customers. It is advised that you shop around, although always go with the optician you feel will offer you the best care, not necessarily the cheapest deal.

Special groups such as young children, the elderly, people on government benefits or those who suffer from or at risk of glaucoma are entitled to free eye tests. You can read our full guide on whether or not you are entitled to a free eye test here.

It should also be noted that a standard eye test which will test you overall eye health and give you a prescription for glasses, is not the same as a test for contact lenses. A glasses prescription and contact lens prescription are different, and therefore require two completely different tests. 


When should a child get an eye test?

Babies eyes are checked during the first 72 hours of birth and regularly during post-natal check-ups and doctors’ appointments as they grow. Children must be taken for regular eye tests [2] and seen immediately by an optician or doctor if they start experiencing sight issues. Common eye problems that affect children are lazy eye (amblyopia), squint (strabismus) and increasingly myopia. Young adolescents are entitled to free eye tests up until the age of 16.


[1] NHS. (2019). How often can I have a free NHS eye test?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 May 2019].

[2]  NHS. (2019). Eye tests for children. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 May 2019].