Do you need glasses?
If you’re having problems with your vision, struggling to read or to see far away objects clearly, for example, then the first thing you should do is make an appointment to get your eyes tested by an optician.
Are you long sighted or short sighted?
The optician will carry out an eye test to find out whether you need glasses and whether you’re long sighted or short sighted.
If you are long sighted you can see far away objects with ease, but might get headaches and blurred vision when you focus on things which are a short distance away, such as reading and using a computer. If you are short sighted you’ll have trouble seeing objects at a distance.
Have you injured your eye?
If you think that you have injured your eye, you should see your GP or, if possible, visit the emergency eye clinic at your local hospital.
If your GP thinks that you could have a more severe sight problem or condition, they will refer you for specialist treatment from an ophthalmologist (pronounced of-thuh l-mol–uh-jist), a specialist in eye conditions.
How often should you get your eyesight tested?
Even if you think your eyesight’s fine, you should still see your optician at least every two years, so that any problems can be picked up on and dealt with quickly. Appointments are free if you are under 16 or under 19 and in full-time education, as well as if you are receiving certain types of benefit.
Glasses are cool!
If your optician says you need glasses, don’t worry. Loads of people wear glasses these days, including popular celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Elton John, TV presenter Gok Wan, pop singer Melanie Blatt and many more. Glasses are more popular than ever and are certainly not geeky or un-cool.
There are loads of different styles, colours and designs of glasses available, so you can choose a pair that suit you and reflect your style. If you qualify for free eye tests then you’ll also be able to get vouchers towards the cost of your glasses.
What about contact lenses?
Contact lenses are an alternative to glasses for some people and are a good option for occasions when you don’t want to wear your glasses, such as when you’re playing sports. They’re small saucer-shaped plastic lenses which fit over the outside of your eyeball.
If you wear contact lenses it’s important to keep them clean and to remember to take them out at night.
Your optician will be able to advise you on whether contact lenses are suitable for you and on which type of lenses to get.
Who can help?
Find out if you’re entitled to free eye care at NHS Choices.
You can read more about general eye health and search for an optician near you at Direct Gov – Eye care.
You can discover useful information about eye care for disabled people at Direct gov – sight care and services.
Specsavers hosts an annual ‘Spectacle Wearer of the Year’ event, which includes some top celeb guests! Find out more and view pictures of the red carpet event and glamorous glasses wearers at www.swoty.com.
If you’re getting bullied because you wear glasses, we offer advice for how to deal with bullies on this site.
Childline also offers help at any time for any problem you have. Visit www.childline.org.uk or freephone 0800 11 11 for confidential advice.