New to eyecare? Let us guide you.

Why is the health of your eyes important?
What is an eye examination and do I need one?
Some of the tests we make during your examination
Age and vision
Do I have to pay for an examination?
What is retinal photography?

Why is the health of your eyes important?

Whether you’re born short-sighted or you can still see high aircraft clearly well into your 70s, everyone’s eyesight deteriorates over time. If you think you’ve reached the point where your sight is starting to affect your daily life and are, understandably, unsure of the latest options on offer, we hope this regularly updated step-by-step guide will answers a few questions.

It goes without saying we all want to look great in our new specs or contact lenses (and we can certainly help you with this) but let’s talk about your eye health first.

If you can’t find what you need here, don’t hesitate to drop us an email and we’ll get back to you within a day or two. Or give us a call – our details are in the Contact Us section.

What is an eye examination and do I need one?

There’s more to an eye examination than simply checking your vision. We also investigate the health of your eyes. This is important because serious eye conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, and even general health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure, may be hidden and not show any symptoms. Yet they can be detected during an eye examination and the sooner a potential problem is diagnosed, the greater the chances of it being treated successfully.

These are some of the tests we make during your examination:

  1. History and Symptoms: we first discuss any problems you might have with your eyesight and general health as many eye conditions are health-related. We also discuss your work and leisure activities to assess your visual needs.
  2. Eyewear Assessment: if you already wear glasses or contact lenses, we check them to see if they are still suitable for your vision.
  3. Refraction: this part of your examination finds out whether you need optical lenses to correct your eyesight. We test your near vision (for reading), your distance vision (for driving or TV) and your intermediate vision (for hobbies and or computer work).
  4. Oculomotor Balance: we check that your eye muscles are co-ordinated and that you have comfortable vision at all distances.
  5. Pupil Reflexes: an unusual pupil reflex may indicate neurological problems, so we check that pupils react normally to light.
  6. Intraocular Pressure: too much pressure inside your eyes can indicate glaucoma, a disease that eventually leads to blindness if left untreated. This test is usually only carried out if you are over 40 or have glaucoma in your family.
  7. Visual Field Test: losing your field of vision is one of the main signs of glaucoma, so where appropriate we check your all-round vision and your peripheral eyesight.
  8. Ophthalmoscopy: this important test evaluates the health of your eyes. Conditions such as diabetes, cataracts, hypertension and macular degeneration can be detected and monitored by an eye examination.

After the examination, we’ll talk you through your vision and eye health and give you a copy of your optical prescription. We try and keep things in plain English, but if anything is unclear (this is medical science after all!) make sure you ask questions. Or contact us at later date if you have any nagging concerns.

Click here to find out if you have to pay for your eye test.

Age and vision

Regular eye examinations are especially important once you enter middle age. That’s 40 onwards, in case you were wondering!

Many people in their mid-40s find they need glasses for reading, while nearly everyone will have spectacles by the time they’re 65. In later life, you’re also more likely to experience a medical problem that affects your vision. Glaucoma typically affects those over 40, while cataracts and macular degeneration mainly occurs in the over-60s.

It’s because of this that annual eye examinations are advisable for older people – and for children as well.

Do I have to pay for an eye examination?

You qualify for a free NHS-funded sight examination if:

  • You are under 16
    You are under 19 and in full-time education
    You are 60 or over
  • You are registered as blind or partially sighted
  • You have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
  • You are 40 or over and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma
  • You have been advised by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) that you are at risk of glaucoma
  • You are a prisoner on leave from prison
  • You are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your optometrist (optician) can advise you about your entitlement

You are also entitled to a free NHS eye exam if you:

  • Receive Income Support
  • Receive Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (not Contribution-based)
  • Receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Receive Income-based Employment and Support Allowance (not Contribution-based)
  • Are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • Are named on a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

If you are named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3) you may get some help towards the cost of your eye examination.

What is retinal photography?

Using our state-of-the-art Nidek retinal camera we can take a digital picture of the back of your eye. This enables us have a better and more detailed inspection of the most important central retina of the eye. These images are stored on computer with your records. It allows us to compare images from visit to visit so that subtle changes to the back of the eye, from eye diseases such as glaucoma, can be more easily detected. We highly recommend this procedure which forms part of our extended eye exam.

  • Contact Details and Opening Hours T: 020 8303 3935 Contact us
  • News and Offers

    Latest news and offers from Stuart Gothelf

    See our Blog
  • We are still open!

    Read more
What our customers say

“Having been a customer of Gothelf Opticians, for over twenty five years, I would not dream of going anywhere else! Their help and advice is superb, and, where necessary, referral to further professional teams (eye hospital etc), is done, immediately!”

Virginia Brandon