Why are Eye Tests so important?

Regular sight tests are vitally important for both adults and children.

Sight tests for adults

It is recommended that most people should get their eyes tested every two years unless advised by an ophthalmic practitioner to have them tested more frequently.

Sight tests for children

Children rarely complain about their sight, but can show signs of problems with their vision. For example by:

  • sitting close to the TV
  • holding objects very close to their face
  • blinking a lot
  • rubbing their eyes
  • one eye turning in or out

Children should have their eyes tested regularly, normally every two years or more often if their ophthalmic practitioner advises. However, if you think your child has problems with their vision, take them to the ophthalmic practitioner for a sight test as soon as possible.

Increased risk of eye health problems

Anyone can develop problems with their sight, but some groups of people may have a higher risk. For example, people who:

  • are aged over 60
  • are from some ethnic groups, such as African-Caribbean or south Asian
  • have a family history of eye disease

Regular sight tests are particularly important if you have an increased risk of eye problems.

What your eye test will show

What your eye test will show

A sight test will show if you need to:

  • get glasses for the first time
  • change your current glasses

A sight test will also include a general health check that can pick up early signs of eye disease before you’re aware of any symptoms. Some health conditions can affect the eyes such as:


macular degeneration


Your sight test

Optometrists recommend that most people should get their eyes tested every two years. However, in some circumstances, they may recommend more frequent sight tests; for example, if you:

  • are a child wearing glasses
  • have diabetes
  • are aged 40 or over and have a family history of glaucoma
  • are aged 70 or over

The way a sight test is carried out is governed by law. A sight test will identify:

  • what your level of vision is
  • whether you need glasses to correct your sight

Your eyes and the area around them will be examined, to look for signs of injury, disease or abnormality.

During your appointment, you may see more than one practitioner, for example:

  • an optometrist or ophthalmic medical practitioner, who tests your sight to check the quality of your vision and your eye health
  • a dispensing optician, who fits your glasses

If you already wear glasses or contact lenses, remember to take them with you to your sight test. You may be asked to wear them during the test.