A Sight Test is a test of your sight to provide a spectacle prescription, and to determine whether you have any signs of eye disease.

If there are signs of disease present the regulations require that you are referred to an appropriately qualified person (usually a specialist optometrist, your GP or the hospital Eye Unit) to carry out further investigations in order to diagnose the problem and provide advice on treatment and management.

An Eye Examination includes these more detailed investigations to diagnose any eye disease and provide treatment and management advice immediately without the need to refer you, as well as the standard procedures that are carried out as part of a Sight Test.

Patients eligible for a NHS Sight Test are entitled to a 50% discount on the cost of an Eye Examination.

The additional procedures in an Eye Examination depend on the problem that is present. For example if you are suffering with sore eyes our specialist optometrist will examine the front of your eye using a slit lamp microscope to determine the cause of the problem. Sore eyes can be caused by many problems, the most common ones being inward growing eyelashes, chronic inflammation of the eye lids (blepharitis), or dry eye.

The treatment and management advice of sore eyes will depend on the underlying cause, and the investigations required to diagnose red eyes or watery eyes may also be different depending on the presenting symptoms. Our specialist optometrists are trained to only carry out the tests and investigations that are relevant to your particular symptoms so that an accurate diagnosis can be quickly and efficiently determined and the appropriate treatment advised.

There are a number of tests required to diagnose glaucoma some of which are included in a Sight Test:

Glaucoma Test Sight Test Eye Examination
Intraocular Pressure Yes Yes
Optic Disc Assessment Yes Yes
Basic Field Test Yes Yes
Detailed Field Test Yes
Corneal Thickness Measurement Yes
Anterior Chamber Gonioscopy Yes

The risk factors for developing chronic or acute glaucoma are:

  • High Intraocular pressure Age over 40 Family History of glaucoma (particularly siblings) Longsightedness with shallow anterior chamber angles
  • Shortsightedness over -6.00
  • Afro-Carribean, Eskimo or South-East Asian descent
  • Use of inhaled or oral corticosteroids
  • Diabetes

If you have any of these risk factors we recommend you have an Eye Examination so that we can comprehensively evaluate your risk.
The 3 simple tests in a Sight Test may not be sufficient to detect the disease early when treatment is often more effective.

If you are diabetic, there is a national screening programme for the detection of diabetic eye disease (retinopathy) that should call you for screening at least annually.

In Hampshire, you will be invited to attend your GP practice for the screening to be carried out by trained technicians in a mobile van that visits your GP surgery periodically. In Dorset the screening is carried out by Health Intelligence who will call you for screening when you are due.

Diabetic screening is only concerned with diabetic eye disease and does not asses your spectacle prescription or evaluate your risk of cataract or glaucoma – both of which are associated with diabetes. We therefore recommend that you have a regular Eye Examination in addition to your diabetic screening at the intervals recommended by your optometrist – usually every 2 years.

Usually there is not a big difference provided you compare like with like. Unlike purchasing a car when it is clear whether the product is a Ford or a Ferrari, spectacle frames and lenses may outwardly appear to be similar when they are not.

At Howie & Tickner our range of complete spectacles starts from just £39 and we offer a price guarantee:
If within 30 days of purchase you can find the same frame and lens combination at another high street practice we will refund the difference.

In common with other practices we do accept other opticians prescriptions, but in doing so we will only be able to make the prescription up to British Standard tolerances. There is much more information about your eyes that is obtained during an Eye Examination or Sight Test than is written on your copy prescription and if we have not carried out your eye examination this information will not be available to us to provide you with best advice. In order to provide the best possible service, we recommend that you do not separate the supply of spectacles and your Eye Examination or Sight Test.

The College of Optometrists is the public body charged with maintaining standards and protecting the public. Their advice on this matter is as follows:
The prescribing and dispensing of spectacles are very closely linked and it would be in your best interests to have your spectacles dispensed where you have your eyes examined. It is often more difficult to resolve any problems you may have with your spectacles when prescribing and supply are separated.

We are specialist optometrists and dispensing opticians using the latest equipment and technology to provide you with the very best service and products whilst respecting your budget.

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