Our Superintendent Optometrist Claire Slade explains why regular eye checks are vital for your overall health...

There is a wide range of conditions opticians can spot by looking at the back of the eye. When the optician shines a bright light into your eye what we’re looking at is the optic disc. This is where all the nerve information from all the electrical signals from the retina is transported to the brain.

If there’s swelling further back in the brain it can put pressure on that point in the eye. Looking at the optic nerve is the only way of detecting serious brain conditions like Papilledema without an invasive procedure.

That's how Mubeen Ali, optometrist at our Hyde store, spotted that Emma Ward had the condition when she came in complaining of severe head pain. You can read her story here.

Sometimes the signs of the condition are quite subtle and it can be difficult to detect, particularly if the patient doesn’t have any other signs or symptoms.

We can also detect early signs of diabetes, sometimes before the patient has any symptoms. There are an estimated two million people walking around with diabetes who don’t know they have the condition – either because they don’t recognise the symptoms or because they’re not symptomatic yet.

By looking into the eye we can locate small changes to blood capillaries and damage to blood vessels.

An eye check is a free – or relatively low cost – check you can have that tells you about your wellbeing as well as how well you can see. At least half of the population is entitled to free eye tests on the NHS. This includes anyone over the age of 60, anyone under 16 or under 19 in full-time education, and some people on low income benefits. In Scotland everyone is entitled to free eye tests.

A lot of people say “I’ll go to the optician when I’m struggling to see something”, but sometimes there can be a more sinister reason why your eyesight is deteriorating. That’s why you should go as a maintenance check and not leave it. It’s important you treat it as you would any other health check – like going to the dentist for a check-up when you’re not in pain.

If you’re a parent it’s important that you make sure your children have their eyes tested too. If you grew up in the 70s or 80s or before that there’s an expectation that children will get an eye check at school – that they will be stood in front of the school nurse and asked to read letters off a chart. That eye test policy is really ad hoc so it doesn’t always happen any more.

If you have children, particularly under fives, make sure you get their eyes tested. If you have any worries about their eyesight, particularly in very young children or if you have had eye problems yourself, you can always speak to an Asda optician who will be able to advise you.

It’s quick and easy to book an appointment – just ask at the Optical desk next time you’re shopping in store or call the store. You can find your nearest store with an Optical department using our store locator.

We have 158 Optical departments in Asda stores nationwide where you can book an eye test. These departments are run by a fully qualified dispensing optician and have at least one fully qualified optometrist. They are supported by a team of eight to 10 Asda colleagues who have been specially trained as Optical advisors.

When we employ optometrists we make sure they have the right level of qualification, check their references and maintain their training to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. And we monitor and audit them on an ongoing basis to make sure their record keeping and interaction with customers is up to a high standard – so you can be sure you’re in safe hands when you get your eyes tested.

Asda Opticians: Take a look at our latest offers and find out more about the services offered by Asda Opticians here.