Routine sight tests are the best way to make sure your eyes are healthy, and could lead to successful treatment for unknown, sight threatening conditions and maybe even your life.
That’s the message from Health Minister Eluned Morgan in a new campaign to encourage adults over 30 to go for a sight test at their local optometry practice (opticians).
The Health Minister said:
Glaucoma, diabetes, and myopia are amongst the health conditions that can be detected and treated earlier, through eye examinations at your local optometry practice.
Optometrists (opticians) can also pick up other problems like brain tumours, so a routine sight test could save your life. It’s very important that adults over age 30 go for a regular sight test. Many people in Wales qualify for a free sight test and some employers will also pay for you to have your test.
Some conditions that cause sight loss have no symptoms, but a sight test can often pick up on these conditions before any changes in vision are noticed - leading to vital treatment at the right time, to save your eyesight.
The ‘Help us Help You’ optometry campaign, recently launched by the Welsh Government, encourages everyone in Wales to get their eyes checked regularly with their optometrist, to avoid serious eye problems.
NHS sight tests are free to those who are eligible. As well as the young and elderly, people on benefits or those with a family history of glaucoma, if you use computer screens at work, the law requires your employer to arrange a free sight test for you, if you request one. Most employers usually agree to pay for the sight test that you have arranged for yourself.
As a result of a new agreement, more people in Wales can now get their eyes tested for free. People who are at greater risk of developing certain eye conditions can receive free eye examinations from The Eye Health Examination Wales Scheme (EHEW). Including people who:
- are from Black or Asian ethnic groups
- are deaf or blind
- need urgent attention for their eye problems
- have been referred by their GP by an EHEW registered optometrist
The Health Minister added:
To help reduce hospital waiting times, improve patient outcomes and address the increased demand for eye care services, the Welsh Government is changing how eye care is delivered in Wales through a new optometry contract – Meaning that high street optometrists can effectively monitor and treat a greater range of eye conditions, so more people can get their eyes checked for free, quicker, and closer to home.
David O’Sullivan, Wales’ Chief Optometric Adviser said:
From the age of 30 onwards our eyesight can deteriorate, and certain conditions can develop. So, it’s important for everyone to get a regular eye health check. Your local optometrist is highly qualified in detecting eye conditions and regular check-ups can save your eyesight and even on occasions save lives.