Health treatments

Eye health: A guide

by The Simplyhealth Team

Your questions around visiting the opticians and keeping your eyes healthy, answered by our clinical team here at Simplyhealth.


Find out:

  • What is 'optical' treatment, and what does it cover?
  • What's an optometrist?
  • What's a dispensing optician?
  • How often should you go to the opticians?
  • Why should you have a regular eye test?
  • What happens in an eye test?

What is 'optical' treatment, and what does it cover?


The term optical covers everything to do with your eyes, from the health of your eyes and the quality of your eyesight. Optical treatment refers to professional care provided by a qualified eye specialist, such as an optometrist or dispensing optician.


Optical cover is a form of health insurance that covers eye treatments. Most health plans include optical cover, but remember to read your policy carefully.


What's an optometrist? 


Optometrists are skilled healthcare professionals who examine eyesight, prescribe glasses or contact lenses, and check for eye conditions. They can also spot underlying health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.

What's a dispensing optician?


Dispensing opticians are trained to fit lenses, coatings, and frames for patients using prescriptions written by optometrists. They can advise patients on various types of lenses and spectacle frames, including advice on style, weight, and colour.

To be able to practise as an optometrist or a dispensing optician, you must be

registered with the General Optical Council (GOC).

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How often should you go to the opticians?


You should see an optician at least once every two years. However, you may need to be seen more frequently depending on your age and current health.


Your optician will be able to recommend how regularly you will require an appointment.

Why should you have a regular eye test?


An eye examination should be an essential part of your health routine. It's more than a simple test of your eyesight. Your optometrist is able to check your eye health and other general health issues during an eye examination, as well as being on hand to provide practical advice.


Here are some important reasons to have a regular eye examination:


  • Your eye doctor can detect early signs of eye conditions before you notice them
  • He or she can also detect other general health problems
  • You only have one pair of eyes. If you lose your eyesight, it may never be replaced!
  • Unlike other parts of your body, your eyes often do not hurt if there is something wrong with them.
A lady checking her eye sight with the optometrist

What happens in an eye test?


During your appointment, you will have a comprehensive sight test. This will include a thorough examination of the front and back of your eyes for any health problems.


The vision test includes the use of a letter chart, with different lenses being placed in front of your eye to enable the optician to fine-tune the prescription, if the test indicates that you need one. The prescription is the power of lens for the left and right eye, which will correct your vision if necessary.


During your eye health check, your optician will check the condition of your eye’s various structures and may also perform tests to measure the pressure inside the eye. Eye movements and coordination are also checked to ensure that both eyes are working together, which assesses the function of the eye muscles.


Your optician will ask you a number of questions about:

  • your general health and wellbeing
  • any current or previous problems with your eyes, and
  • any family history of eye problems, as some eye problems can be hereditary.
A lady having an eye test with the optometrist

The Simplyhealth Plan

Like a subscription for your health.

A typical eye test can cost around £25. Take out a Level 2 plan today and you can claim that back, as well as more health & wellbeing treatments.

Hints for a healthy you


A lady working from home, with a cat and her screen

Sat in front of a screen? Take a break


Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away (6m), for 20 seconds.


That's the 20-20-20 rule, designed to give your eye muscles a rest.



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Three ways to look after your eyes


You being on this page means you understand how important your eyes are. We're with you on that.  


Take a look at our three ways you can take a proactive approach with a few lifestyle changes. 

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Discover other health treatments


With a Simplyhealth Plan, we're all about taking a proactive approach to health and wellbeing.


Discover the range of services and treatments we cover with our plans, and how visiting a specialist now can help in the long run.  

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