How often should I have my eyes tested?

Published: 06th August 2010
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How often has a loved one told you 'look after your eyes, you only have one pair'. How right they are, as your eyes can never be replaced. The value of an eye test lay in the early detection of any problem. A problem which could be treated early - and the earlier, the better. An eye test can even detect any underlying health problems that you were not aware of, eg. diabetes, high blood pressure, multiple scleroses and life threatening illnesses.

You will normally be guided by your optician as to how often you should have an eye test. As a rule two years is regarded as a safe interval.

Anyone with serious eye problems or fast changing prescriptions will require an eye test at least once a year, and may even be recalled more often if the optician deems it appropriate.

All babies should have their eyes examined by a qualified doctor before they reach six months of age. A babies' fine stereopsis is fully developed by nine months of age. After nine months of age, intervention to correct any problems found problem may be too late!

After your baby has passed the first set of eye tests they won't need to have their eyes checked again until they are toddlers. Children between the age of three and five should have their eyes examined.

A Child's vision is fully developed by the age of six so any disease or conditions which would hinder the child from seeing clearly during this time with both eyes may result in the child having a "lazy eye" or "crossed eyes". Special testing by an optician or doctor qualified to exam eyes is required to determine any problems at the earliest stage possible. It is imperative for children to perform well at school and without proper eye sight and eye care, it is very difficult for school children to function normally, and therefore, regular eye testing is essential.

Children under the age of 16 (or 19 and in full-time education) are entitled to free eye tests on the NHS as are all adults over the age of 60.

Once you reach the age of 70 and beyond, you should have a full eye examination at least once a year, even if you aren't having any problems with your vision you should still follow the once a year rule.

Remember it is free to have your eyes tested when you reach 60, so you have nothing to lose.

Age increases the risk of cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration, if detected in the early stages, the development of some diseases can be slowed or in some cases completely cured.

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