Eye Health

A leading doctor is urging people to take advantage of free eye tests to protect their health as part of National Eye Health Week.

The call comes from Dr Komal Raj, Ophthalmology Lead for NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, who said eye tests – particularly for over 60s – pick up early indicators of illness such as diabetes, hypertension and other common conditions, as well as testing vision.

Eye care charities and health professionals from across the UK are joining together to promote the sixth annual National Eye Health Week, which takes place from Monday (21 Sept).

Dr Raj said: “Medical conditions can often be picked up as a result of a trip to the optician so you’re looking after far more than just your eyes by paying them a visit.

“They can pick up early indicators of diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure and cholesterol which help your GP act quickly to support any medical needs you might have.”

You may qualify for a free NHS-funded sight test for reasons including:

  • You’re under 16
  • You’re 16, 17, or 18 and are in full-time education
  • You’re aged 60 or over
  • You’re registered as partially sighted or blind
  • You’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
  • You’re 40 or over and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma.

You also qualify for a free NHS sight test if you receive:

  • income support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (not contribution-based)
  • pension credit guarantee credit.

Dr Raj added: “Getting an eye test is so easy and it’s well worth it to stay fit and well and know that you’re looking after yourself – and best of all it’s often free!”

For further information about eye checks and whether you’re entitled to a free test visit www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/2554.aspx