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Tell-tale signs for needing a sight test

A sight test is more than just routine… It’s the Doctor of your eyes!

We all know that a regular sight test is important to keep our eyes healthy by indicating whether glasses are needed or a change in prescription.

A sight test can also help to detect some common medical conditions before symptoms begin and sometimes even before they become noticeable.

The term “regular sight test” means yearly or every two years, which are individually recommended by your optician depending on age, family history, current eye health and eye conditions.

Attending your regular sight test can potentially prevent eye health problems because many issues can be treated or managed before they cause damage to your eyes.

An optician is better clinically equipped to provide optical diagnosis and treatment than a GP is. If needed, the optician might advise you to follow up with your GP to get things investigated further.

Anything from pain and irritation in the eyes, to excessively watery eyes can be tell-tale signs that it’s time to visit your local opticians.

While it’s common for eyes to ache due to a bad cold, sinus infection or lack of sleep, if pain is limited to the eyes and causes irritation or discomfort then it’s best to get them checked.

The most common causes of eye pain are dry eye syndrome or blepharitis, which is inflammation of the eyelid.

Watery eyes can ironically be a sign of dry eye, along with redness, burning or stinging, blurred vision or a gritty sensation.

Many people confuse this with tiredness, so a good test is to stare straight ahead at something for as long as possible – if there is discomfort or a need to blink before 10 seconds is up, it could be dry eye.

Dry eye can be a natural sign of ageing, but it’s recently on the rise in younger people due to the time spent on computers and screens… As we blink less with concentration, the hydrating tears on the surface of the eye evaporate before we can replace them.

There is no cure for dry eye, but there are several things that opticians can do to manage it and improve symptoms, such as using preservative-free eye drops.

Another tell-tale sign of needing an eye test is bloodshot eyes.

Besides sleepless nights, bloodshot eyes can be caused by a number of things from eye fatigue and allergies to dry eye.

Some of the most common causes of bloodshot are infections such as conjunctivitis, but if the redness is significant and causes discomfort you should make an appointment with your local optician.

Finally, temporary visual disturbances possibly include partial or complete blindness for a brief period, which might be due to ocular/retinal migraine and can be extremely distressing.

They usually cause visual problems in both eyes at the same time and can last up to half an hour, but will usually subside by itself. The best thing to do is rest until it’s better.

However, it’s important to get symptoms properly checked, especially as they aren’t always associated with headaches and can be difficult to recognise if you’re not used to them.

If you’re unsure whether it’s a migraine, you should seek advice from your optician as similar symptoms can be caused by more sinister conditions.

The pain, irritation and discomfort caused by these symptoms can be restrictive and limit a person’s daily life.

We believe that everyone has the right to sight and we strive to enable lives through better vision.

If you have a loved one in care who is showing these signs, why not arrange for one of our team to come out and take them through a personable sight test?