National Eye Health Week has led to organisations across the country raising awareness about the importance of eye tests. And to show my support I thought this was a perfect topic for my next blog discussion.

As an optician who has spent most of my working career in practice, I have come to realise that the annual cycle of running an optician’s revolves mainly around the eye test and its importance. If you ask the practice owner about them, he will probably say that he needs eye tests to be carried out on his premises to get customers through his door in order to spend money. Now while that is partly true, it’s also very important to remember his duty as a medical professional. So the overriding concern must be his duty of care to his patients and his obligation to give the very best medical care he can to everyone who sits in the chair – the resulting purchase of an expensive pair of specs is a bonus!

The biggest issue is convincing the patient that an eye test is an important and worthwhile annual check, as opposed to being the “oh dear not again” appointment that everyone appears to dread. There is still too much reluctance to get an eye test, particularly in the UK – this needs to change.

Talking to as many patients as we do here at Glasses Direct, I hear a lot of reasons why a) someone is using a prescription that is four years old or b) has simply made one up…

– My eyes feel OK
– They didn’t change before so I’m sure they’re still OK
– I haven’t got time to go
– I don’t like my optician
– If I go it means I have to spend money on glasses from them

The thing to remember is that the eye test is a medical check and needs to be carried out at regular intervals regardless of any changes in vision (or any other excuse the patient can think up!) The number one priority is to make sure that the eyes are healthy and the person is seeing as well as possible.

Much like registering your car for an MOT, there may be no changes but it still needs to be done.. The actual numbers that end up on prescriptions are only one part of the test. The optician is also looking at the general health of the patient, any medication they are on, blood pressure, history of diabetes, glaucoma, the overall health of the eye, visual file defects…the list goes on!

So before the reminder for the next check goes in the bin, re-think and book the test, and you might even enjoy the visit knowing all is well in the world of eyes!