We all know that a regular sight test is important to identify a change in prescription.

We all know that it can indicate whether you need glasses to help you see better and live better.

However, it’s easy to forget that a sight test also detects common eye or general health conditions.

A sight test is important because it’s possible to spot eye conditions before symptoms begin or become noticeable.

What is a regular sight test?

The term “regular sight test” means yearly or every two years.

Your optician will recommend the frequency depending on your age, family history, current eye health and eye conditions.

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

An optician is better clinically equipped to provide an optics 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.

Know the signs

It’s common for eyes to ache due to a bad cold, sinus infection or lack of sleep.

However, if the pain is limited to the eyes and causes irritation then it’s time to visit your local optician.

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 restrict a limit a person’s daily life, so a sight test can help them to see better and live better.

If you have a loved one within a care setting who is showing these signs, contact us today to arrange a sight test.