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How often should you have an eye test? We asked the experts

Jakub Odcházel, DiS.

Medically reviewed by Jakub Odcházel, DiS., Chief Optician, on 18 Oct 2020. Written by Lentiamo

How often should I have an eye test? A good question for all those who wear glasses or contact lenses, and those who suffer from blurred vision, headaches or other eye-related problems. Because an eye test can not only determine your dioptres, it can also detect serious eye diseases.

Is one test in two years enough, or should it rather be once a year or more, and what are the factors that play a role in this decision?

Our editors asked the optometrists and eye doctors at Lentiamo to determine how often you should get your eyes tested. Read on!

Table of contents

Why are eye tests so important?

The importance of annual eye examinations goes far beyond ensuring that your vision is not blurred. Your eye doctor (ophthalmologist) can ensure that you do not have any serious eye disease such as glaucoma, cataracts or eye cancer by conducting an in-depth eye examination.

Additionally, persistent headaches and the perils of poor vision can be prevented by undergoing an eye test. You'll be able to determine the details of your prescription to get glasses or contact lenses.

So how regularly should you have an eye test?

How often you take an eye test depends on various factors. For one thing, it depends on how old you are and thus how old your eyes are. Scientists say that eyes grow quickly after birth. That is why babies' eyes are routinely tested after they are born and 6 months later.

The eyes of young adults don't need to be examined as often because our eyes stop getting longer at the age of 20 to 21.

However, as we get older, our eyes continue to change, especially after the age of 40. Around this time, our eyes start to lose their ability to focus. This condition is known as presbyopia, and some people experience more loss of focus than others.

Eye tests according to your age

Our optometrists and ophthalmologists recommend:

  • If you are younger than 40, you should have an eye test every 2 years, regardless of whether or not you have a visual impairment such as myopia or hyperopia.
  • If you are 40 or older, you should have your eyes tested once a year.
  • Children should have annual eye tests.

Are you interested in the procedure of eye tests and which tests they include? Read our eye exam guide or browse through our complete glasses guide.

How often should you have an eye test

Eye tests depending on pre-existing conditions

Another important factor in determining the frequency of your eye tests is whether you have any medical conditions such as diabetes or glaucoma. These may concern either yourself or someone in your family.

Our ophthalmologists recommend:

  • If you had eye problems or illnesses in the past
  • if you're at risk of developing an ophtamological disease
  • or if someone in your family has one

you should have an eye test at least once a year.


The ophthamologists at Lentiamo strongly recommend that you have your eyes and vision checked regularly. An eye test not only determines whether your dioptres are still sufficient, but can also help detect serious eye diseases that could be the cause of your blurred vision.

How do eye tests work?

An eye exam involves a series of tests to check your vision. Your eye doctor or optician might use a variety instruments, shine bright lights directly into your eyes and ask you to look through an array of lenses. Each individual test during an eye exam evaluates a different aspect of your vision or eye health.

What happens before your eye exam?

Before the actual examination starts, your doctor or optician will clarify a few things. If it's your first eye exam, they'll most likely ask you questions about your vision history first. Your answers will help understand your risk of eye disease and vision problems. The questions you'll be asked will be similar to the following:

  • What health problems have you had in recent years?
  • Are you suffering from any eye problems?
  • Does anyone in your family have eye problems such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or retinal detachments?
  • Have you experienced any eye problems in the past?
  • Have you ever had eye surgery?
  • Do you have any allergies to medications, food or other substances?
  • Are you taking any medications?

Your doctor will ask you several questions before your eye exam

What happens during an eye test?

Afterward asking questions, your doctor or optician will proceed with the eye examination. In case you're being examined by an ophthalmologist, the procedure usually involves these steps:

  • Your eye doctor measures your visual acuity to see if you need glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision.
  • You'll be given a numbing drop in your eyes. Then your eye pressure is measured. To make it easier for your doctor to examine the inside of your eye, they will probably dilate your pupils with eyedrops.
  • After waiting for the dilating drops to take effect, your eye doctor checks the health of your eyes, possibly using several lights to evaluate the front and the inside of each eye.

What to expect after your eye exam

At the end of your eye exam, you will discuss the outcome of all the tests with your doctor, including an evaluation of your vision, your risk of developing eye diseases, and preventive actions you can take to protect your eyesight. Your doctor will give you your glasses prescription. With this prescription, you can easily browse through our e-shop and order your favourite glasses.

What tests are included in a comprehensive eye test?

Several different tests may be performed during the eye exam. The tests are designed to check your vision and to examine the appearance and function of all parts of your eyes. Some of the most commonly performed and relevant tests are the following:

Visual acuity test

The most common eye test is a visual acuity test. This measures how clear your eyesight is. During the test, you're asked to identify different letters of the alphabet printed on a chart (Snellen chart) or displayed on a screen. The lines of type get smaller as you make your way down the chart. Each eye is tested separately.

Refractive eye exam

A refractive exam is the test that your eye doctor or optician uses to determine your exact glasses prescription. During a computerised refraction, your doctor puts an instrument called a phoropter in front of your eyes and shows you a series of lens corrections. Then they will ask you which one of the two lens choices looks clearer. The refraction determines your level of hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia.

Colour blindness test

In a comprehensive eye exam, a colour blindness screening checks your colour vision in order to rule out colour blindness. In addition to detecting colour vision deficiencies, colour blindness tests can also alert your eye care professional to potential eye health problems that may affect your colour vision.

Eye cover test

The cover test tells you how well your eyes work together. Your doctor will ask you to look at a small object at some distance and cover and uncover each eye to see how much your eyes move. Your doctor will also check if one of your eyes turns away from the target. This is a condition called strabismus. You may repeat the test with a nearby target.

How much does an eye test cost?

Most people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have to pay a small fee for an eye test at their local optician. In Scotland though, all eye tests at NHS opticians are free.

Note: people with certain conditions are entitled to a free NHS eye test in England and Wales. Please read our guide on how to obtain NHS optical vouchers here.

With the prescription you will receive from your optician, you can easily try on your favourite glasses at Lentiamo.co.uk and send them to your home! Enjoy browsing and do not hesitate to contact our customer service on 0800 249 4219 or info@lentiamo.co.uk



1. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/…ave-eye-test
2. Royal National Institute of Blind People, https://www.rnib.org.uk/…20report.pdf
3. Association of Optometrists, https://www.aop.org.uk/
4. Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/…ur-eyes-grow#…

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