Guides & FAQs
Eyesite Eyecare Centre's offers free NHS Sight Tests. If you are eligible for this you will be offered an eye examination free of charge dependent on NHS regulations as below:
- you are under 16 years of age
- you are under 19 and in full-time education
- you are 60 or over
- 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
- an ophthalmologist has advised you that you’re at risk of glaucoma
- you are registered as blind or partially sighted
- you are prescribed complex lenses, lenses with a power of 10 dioptres or more, or prism controlled bifocal lenses
- your sight tests are usually done through a hospital eye department, as part of your care for an existing eye condition
- you are a war pensioner and you need the sight test because of a disability for which you get a war pension
- You or your partner receive income support
- You or your partner receive income-based jobseeker's allowance
- You or your partner receive income-related employment and support allowance
- You or your partner receives pension credit guarantee credit
You can also get a free NHS sight test if you’re entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate.
Proving your entitlement to a free NHS sight test
We may need proof of your age, for example, to prove that you are over 60 when you arrive at Eyesite Eyecare Centres for your sight test such as your birth certificate, NHS medical card, passport, travel concession card, pension award notice, or driving licence.
We may also need other proof of your entitlement to a free NHS sight test, depending on your circumstances such as:
- If you are entitled to full help with health costs, you will need to show your HC2 certificate or tax credit exemption certificate to the optometrist.
- If you are registered as blind or partially sighted, the name and address of the local authority where you are registered has to be filled in on the GOS1 form.
- If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma, or an ophthalmologist has advised that you are at risk of glaucoma, you need to put the name and address of your doctor on the GOS1 form.
- If you already need a complex lens, if possible show the optometrist your last prescription or the glasses you are wearing.
Below are a series of FAQ's regarding contact lenses, simply click on the question you would like an answer to and it will jump to the answer.
Q1. Are contact lenses advisable if I work on a computer all day?
A. Working with a computer for a sustained period, in an environment that may typically be air conditioned, needs special consideration with regard to fitting contact lenses.
It is well known that people tend to blink less frequently when using display screen equipment. This then gives the opportunity for the contact lenses to dehydrate, which in turn compromises lens comfort and reduces the level of oxygen to the eye.This problem can be addressed by using advanced design contact lenses that retain their moisture throughout the day, thereby enhancing comfort and maintaining a high level of oxygen to the eye.
A. For most of the year, you should be able to wear your contact lenses on the same basis as non-hay fever sufferers. However, at the height of the hay fever season the contact lenses may become less tolerable.
As your Eyecare practitioner, we are perfectly poised to manage the symptoms of itchy, red eyes associated with hay fever. Your contact lens wearing regime may need to be tailored according to your symptoms during this time of year. We are also in a position to communicate directly with your GP should we feel that a course of eye drops are necessary to keep your symptoms at bay.
A. Coloured contact lenses are suitable for most people to wear, even for those who require no sight correction, as well as for people with short sightedness, long sightedness and astigmatism.
After an initial consultation to assess your suitability, the Optician will be able to advise you on a vast range of cosmetic fashion lenses. If your eyes are light in colour you may want to just enhance your natural shade. If you are more daring, you may want a radical eye colour change even if your natural eyes are very dark. However, if subtlety is what you are after then the latest range of 'advanced colour technology' lenses may be tempting.
Most coloured lenses are now available in a soft, disposable type making them suitable for wear on a daily or occasional basis.
A. Those who require sight correction with either bifocals, varifocals or two pairs of spectacles, may find the freedom of contact lenses to their advantage.
We can offer flexibility in the choice of contact lens prescription to allow clear vision at all distances with either bifocal or varifocal contact lenses. Alternatively we can cater for your visual needs with a combination of contact lenses and spectacles. Either way, these contact lenses are available in soft, gas permeable, and astigmatic designs.
A. Playing many sports while wearing glasses can be awkward or dangerous. Football, rugby, tennis - it's clear that glasses would be a nuisance, but even gentle sports like golf can be more fun with contact lenses - they don't get rain on, steam up or slip down - and there are no edge distortions or interference from bifocals. Contact lens wearers benefit from a more 'true to life' image of things, so speed and distance judgment can be better than wearing spectacles.
For certain sports, such as squash and cricket, contact lenses should be worn in addition to some form of eye protection.
We generally advise that contact lenses are not worn for swimming. Firstly, the chances of losing a contact lens are quite high, but more importantly, the risk of an infection or an irritation from chemicals in the pool should be avoided.
A. There are two main types of contact lens:
Gas permeable lenses are smaller and tougher than soft lenses. The great advantage of this type of lens is that it allows the eye to breathe, making it the ideal choice for those who want to wear lenses for most of the day. Although they can take a little longer to adapt to than soft lenses, they offer an excellent quality of vision, especially when you have a stigmatism, and they are also extremely durable.
Soft lenses contain mainly water which makes them comfortable almost immediately. This makes them ideal for occasional use. They are more secure than gas permeable lenses and are therefore a better option for sports. Soft lenses do need changing often to reduce the risk of infection and are most commonly disposed of every month. We can offer soft lenses with cosmetic tints to enhance or change the colour of your eyes. They are also available if you have astigmatism.
A. Astigmatism is a very common condition where the shape of the eye is irregular. Gas permeable contact lenses are ideal for correcting astigmatism. If however, you wish to wear lenses for sport, or on an occasional basis then 'toric' soft lenses would be more suitable. Toric lenses are specifically designed to correct astigmatism, and are available in disposable form, and also with cosmetic colours.
A. The latest daily disposable lenses can be worn as little or as often as you wish. These lenses are comfortable almost immediately making them ideal for infrequent wear. Each time you use them you have a fresh pair. One in three contact lenses fitted in the UK is now a daily disposable lens.
A. The length of time that lenses can be worn will vary for individuals. As a guide though, we would generally recommend that they be worn for twelve hours per day as a maximum, preferably with one day without lenses at all. This allows the eyes to have sufficient rest between wear.
We would strongly advise that contact lenses are always removed prior to sleep. This is in order to minimise the risks of infection and allow the eye to breathe. However, in exceptional circumstances, special lenses can be designed for thirty days continuous wear.
A. With the exception of daily disposable lenses, all contact lenses need to be cleaned after every time of wearing. This cleaning process is essential to reduce the risks of infection from bacteria. Following a simple care regime can, effectively control various germs that accumulate on the contact lenses and storage case.
When you have finished wearing your lenses for a particular day they need to firstly be cleaned, then rinsed, and finally disinfected. This generally takes about five minutes per day.
A. With such a vast range of designs and materials, almost everybody has the potential to wear contact lenses. After a detailed examination of the eye, your Optician can advise on the best type of lens to suit your vision and lifestyle.
A. At Eyesite Eyecare Centres we are committed to providing a quality service with time to discuss individual needs. Our qualified Optometrists will be there to help you from your first examination right through to becoming a successful contact lens wearer. We pride ourselves on our level of care and have excellent facilities and equipment to support this, so giving you the best possible chance of success.
At Eyesite we will assess your requirements and discuss the cost and convenience options. For example if you are wearing contact lenses only twice a week for sport it may be cheaper for you to have daily disposable lenses instead of monthly disposables. We have many options tailored to your individual needs. They need not be expensive.
Under General Optical Council regulations, we can only supply you with the lenses specified on your current prescription. If you want to try a different type to the one specified, you will need another prescription. If you have any queries about this contact us or make a booking to get a new prescription to the contact lens you desire.
According to regulations we can only supply you with the quantity of contact lenses that leads up to the expiry date on your prescription and not beyond.
A lot of opticians on the high street use the method of rebranding brands from well known manufacturers to lock their customers to using them. Unfortunately, many customers will pay high prices for these rebranded contact lenses when they could have purchased them cheaper elsewhere. Eyesite Eyecare Centre’s do not follow this practice because we believe it is essential to give our customers the best possible price and a wide variety of choice.
Please see our Rebranded Contact Lens Guide to help you find your contact lens in its original form.
If rebranding isn't the issue and you cannot find the contact lenses you require, don't hesitate to contact us as we may have it in store!
Q17. What is a valid contact lens prescription?
A valid contact lens prescription is one that has been issued by a registered optician or contact lens practitioner and which has not exceeded its expiry date. It will detail the full contact lens prescription, including the manufacturer, type of lens, base curve, diameter and the powers. We can verify your presription from our records if you are an Eyesite customer. However, if you are not an existing Eyesite customer, you must register your optician’s details with us, so that we can verify your prescription.
Ask the optician who issued your contact lens prescription. They are legally obliged to supply this to you if you ask for it. Please request the original prescription where possible, not a copy.
Q19. What if I do not have a contact lens prescription?
We cannot supply you with contact lenses unless you have a valid contact lens prescription. We are more than happy to supply you with one, but you will be required to have a sight test (we also offer free nhs sight tests for those eligible) in order to receive a contact lens prescription. From this point if you alert the optician seeing you that you wish to try contact lenses we can supply you with the necessary prescription and advise you further. Please make a booking to arrange this.
No. We can only accept a full contact lens prescription for contact lenses. You will need to arrange to have a contact lens consultation with your optician.