Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I take my prescription elsewhere?
- What is the difference between an eye test and diabetic screening?
- What is the difference between a diabetic retinopathy screening and the OCT scan?
- What is the difference between an Optometrist and an Optician?
- How much will my glasses cost?
- Where are the NHS glasses?
- How long will it take to get my glasses?
- Can I re-use my existing frames?
- How long will it be until I'm due another eye examination?
- At what age can my child start having their eyes tested?
- At what age can my child start wearing contact lenses?
It is the patient's choice as to where they would like to purchase their spectacles from. However, the prescribing and dispensing of spectacles are very closely linked so it is in the patient's best interests to have their spectacles dispensed where the eye examination is conducted. Any concerns or problems are often more quickly and easily addressed and rectified for the patient if their care is not split.
Regular eye examinations are recommended for everyone in order to check the health of the eyes and prescribe spectacles where appropriate.
Diabetic retinopathy screening is attended by a person who has been diagnosed with diabetes in order to investigate whether the diabetes specifically has caused any damage to the retina.
It is recommended that a person with diabetes should have both regular eye examinations and diabetic retinopathy screenings to cover all aspects of ocular health.
As part of a diabetic retinopathy screening, photographs of the retina will be taken and transferred to the NHS grading centre for analysis. The primary interpretation of the photographs is in relation to diabetes only.
With the OCT scan, a 3D cross-section of the back ten layers of the retina is taken in addition to retinal photographs. The data is interpreted by the Optometrist during the eye examination appointment with the patient present. The OCT scans are useful in detecting and monitoring many different pathologies including Macular degeneration, Macular oedema, Macular hole, Glaucoma, Retinal Detachment and Vitreous detachment. These are all pathologies which may have no symptoms and therefore a patient may not be aware they have them.
Every patient who attends an eye examination appointment with us is given the opportunity to have an optional OCT scan performed.
The OCT scan incurs a private charge for all patients as it is not an NHS test. Diabetic Retinopathy screenings are provided as an NHS service.
The word Optician is commonly used for an Optometrist. The reason for this is that in the past the title was Ophthalmic Optician. Nowadays an Optometrist is who you will see for your regular eye or contact lens examination. There are other qualifications in optics that still have Optician in the title that you will see in practice. For example, a Dispensing Optician can supply spectacles but cannot conduct eye examinations and a Contact Lens Optician fits and supplies contact lenses but cannot prescribe spectacles.
A patient who does not receive any help towards the cost of spectacles from the NHS can expect to pay £25 for budget spectacle frames. The price of designer frames varies from £75 upwards, with specialist and rimless frames from £120. Standard single vision lenses are £60 with options to make the lenses thinner and lighter starting from just £10 more. Tints, anti-reflection coatings and photochromic lenses incur an additional cost. Bifocal and varifocal prices are dependent on the type of lens selected with budget to premium varifocal lenses available to suit various needs.
A patient who is entitled to an NHS voucher will have their voucher value deducted from the private charge for spectacle lenses. The patient can choose whether to have one of the free of charge frames or pay privately for any other frames they desire.
The way in which the NHS cover costs in relation to spectacles has changed over the years. The NHS do not supply free spectacles, instead they issue a voucher to contribute towards the cost of spectacles.
The turn around for spectacles varies depending on the type of spectacles ordered. Most spectacles will be ready for collection within 7-10 working days. Standard lenses could be ready within a couple of days whereas specialist lenses take longer. We will contact you to let you know when your spectacles are ready.
We can reglaze your existing frames at our discretion as long as they are of good quality and remain in good condition. We do charge a small fee for reglazing spectacle frames due to the risks and work involved.
At the end of every eye examination, the Optometrist will be able to recommend an appropriate interval for your next test. We will endeavour to remind you when you are due. If you struggle with your eyesight before your next test is due, please let us know. An early eye examination may be covered by the NHS if there is a valid reason. The NHS are specific about what is a valid reason. An NHS patient can pay privately for an eye examination if they would like to be seen early without a reason deemed acceptable under NHS guidelines.
An Optometrist can examine a child's eyes at any age. However, the scope of testing is limited for very young children and can depend to some extent on compliance. If there is a family history of eye conditions, if the child's parents have worn spectacles from a young age, if a squint can be seen or if the child is strugglng with anything please ask us. It is in a child's best interest to start wearing spectacles as early as possible if they need to wear them. Amblyopia (lazy eye) causes a lifetime of poor vision. It is nearly always avoidable by the wearing of spectacles at an early enough age.
There is no age limit as to when a child can wear contact lenses. The child would need to be ready to wear contact lenses and be fully compliant with associated instructions and aftercare. The Optometrist would need to be satisfied that the child can safely insert and remove the contact lenses independently and that the child understands the responsibilities involved.