Essential eye care questions answered


Bupa Optical Optometrist, Karen Makin answers some of the most common (and not so common) eye care questions.

Will I be out of pocket for an eye test?

We bulk bill most eye tests for eligible Medicare card holders. Getting your eyes tested regularly is the most effective way to identify and prevent eye diseases while also ensuring your eyesight is being managed properly in terms of prescriptions.

While private health insurance may help reduce your out of pocket costs for glasses or contacts, it is not required for an eye test under Medicare.

How can I minimise the cost of buying a new pair of glasses?

The out of pockets costs that some people pay when purchasing a new pair of glasses or getting contact lenses mostly comes down to your health insurance policy (if you have one) and where you choose to shop for them.

Bupa customers with eligible Extras cover, for example, can visit Bupa’s Members First Optical Network of stores and choose a new pair of frames and lenses with potentially no out of pocket costs, depending on your available limits.

Complicated prescriptions and high fashion brand frames may be priced higher, but a good health insurance policy can make a big difference even at the top end of options.

How long should a pair of glasses last me?

There is no universal answer as to how long your glasses should last, with changes to your eyesight, how you’ve treated your glasses, and even changing fashion trends all playing a part. A good place to start is by booking an eye test every 2 years, or as advised by your doctor or optometrist.

During these eye tests you will learn whether your current prescription is still suitable while also giving you the opportunity to browse for new frames if you are looking for a refresh.

What should I look for in a pair of glasses?

These days, glasses have become a cool fashion accessory and there are lots of different styles which come in and out of vogue. You should choose a pair that suits your face shape, fits within your budget and is comfortable to wear. After all, you will likely be wearing them for most of your waking hours! Some glasses prescriptions will also require a certain type or size of frame so be sure to seek advice from the staff in the store.

It’s an important decision, so staff at optical stores are more than happy for you to try on as many pairs as you like, so take your time and ask for opinions. It’s important your new glasses make you feel confident as well as focused!

The Bupa Optical website has a virtual try-on function, so you can take your time seeing what you might look like in different types of glasses.

Can an eye test uncover other health conditions?

The eye is a window into the heart. We say this because the eye is the only place in the body where one can get a direct non-invasive view of a person’s blood vessels, which can tell a broad story about an individual’s broader health risks such as diabetes and hypertension.

Historically our customers have primarily come to us for their vision and eye health, but now with new technology such as our artificial intelligence enabled retinal scan we can offer them a service that provides them with more information about their general health which they can discuss with their doctor if and when recommended.

How could poor eyesight affect my day to day life?

Living with untreated poor eyesight can significantly affect your life physically, financially and emotionally. For example, you may be less safe on the road which can put you and other drivers and pedestrians at risk, you may find it harder to concentrate on details at work which can affect your career prospects and you may even find yourself more irritable as a result of fatigue.

While coping strategies such as squinting might seem like a decent stop-gap solution, they can actually be detrimental to your employment and physical safety.

You can check out our range of glasses and sunglasses or book an eye test here.