• 14 Northgate Street, Ipswich, IP1 3DB
  • Mon - Sat 9.00am - 5.30pm

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below answers to some frequently asked questions.  If you have a question that’s not answered here please get in touch on 01473 252026.

Normally, our eyes are spherical, like a football. Astigmatism is the word used to describe a slightly more rugby-ball shaped eye.  It’s not a disease or health problem, and millions of people grow up with astigmatism without even realising.  Although our optometrists can identify astigmatism as part of a normal eye test, you won’t spot it in a mirror! It diminishes the eye’s ability to focus light accurately, but this can easily be resolved with vision correction products.  Toric contact lenses help to compensate by bending light more in one direction than the other.  We have plenty of spectacle lenses capable of correcting any distortion caused by an imperfectly shaped lens or cornea.

Driving in the dark brings unique challenges, since low light reduces our depth perception and peripheral vision.  It’s harder to identify potential hazards and road markings, forcing us to concentrate more intently.  Our ability to see in the dark deteriorates with age, underlining the importance of having regular eye tests. Ensure your windscreen is always clear, eliminating layers of dirt or condensation that could lead to tiredness and headaches.  Try to break up long journeys with brief pit stops, giving your eyes a moment to unfocus and relax.  We’d also recommend purchasing spectacle lenses with an anti-glare coating, which reduces reflections caused by streetlights or passing traffic.

Rodenstock Road lenses have been specially developed to give optimal spatial vision and reduce glare when driving, more information can be found at https://www.rodenstock.com/com/en/driving-spectacles.html

Poor vision causes around 2900 road casualties a year

Regular headaches could indicate a problem with your vision.  Our eyes weren’t designed to stare at a screen all day, and excessive screen time frequently causes dry eyes and tiredness.  Eyestrain is often a precursor of headaches.  Try to blink regularly and give your eyes a minute or two a few times an hour where they can focus on something distant.  If the headaches persist, we’d recommend a thorough eye examination to identify potential VDU-related issues.  You might simply need prescription glasses or contact lenses to use a computer all day in comfort.

What you’re seeing are known as floaters or spots.  Millions of people have them, and they’re largely harmless.  Our eyeballs are filled with a thick vitreous gel.  Thinner strands of gel detach from the retina and float harmlessly around, responding to movement but continuing to drift after your eye stops moving.  They’re most noticeable in bright conditions, however, if you notice a sudden increase in floaters, seek advice as soon as possible.

The sunglasses in our practice are sold with in-built protection against the ultraviolet light that can damage the sensitive corneas, lenses and retinas in our eyes.  However, both cheap or imitation sunglasses probably won’t have much UV protection to filter out these harmful rays.  All our lenses are to a full optical standard, so even our non-prescription sunglasses have the same high-quality lenses as our prescription lenses.  We’d always recommend avoiding sunglasses bought from overseas markets, even if they’re authentic-looking and temptingly priced…

The AOP recommend that children have a sight test around the age of three, so that conditions are picked up and treated early.  Young children tend to assume everyone sees the world as they do, so they don’t always report problems seeing things clearly.  After the first test it is a good idea to return every two years, or as recommended by your optometrist.  All children are entitled to NHS-funded sight tests and help with the cost of glasses.  Children under the age of 16 are entitled to NHS-funded sight tests and an optical voucher.  An optical voucher entitles you to help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses if they are needed.

In England, you qualify for an NHS funded sight test if:

  • You’re aged under 16
  • You’re aged 16, 17 or 18 and are in full-time education
  • You’re aged 60 or over
  • You’re registered as partially sighted (sight impaired) or blind (severely sight impaired)
  • 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’ve been advised by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) that you’re at risk of glaucoma
  • You’re a prisoner on leave from prison
  • You’re eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your optometrist can advise you about your entitlement.

You’re also entitled to an NHS sight test 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
  • Are awarded Universal Credit and meet the criteria on earnings limit
  • Are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • You are named on a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2).

People named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3) may also get help.