Hearing and Vision Care

Keeping your Ears Healthy

It is important to take care of your hearing and it is never too early to start.

 Action on Hearing Loss provides information on a number of different subjects relating to hearing loss, including:

On this website you can also carry out the hearing check, this will help you find out if you have hearing loss and encourages you to take action. If after doing the test you are concerned about your results then please contact your GP or audiologist.

For information on ear care please see our Earwax topic.

Eye Health

Looking after your eyes

One of the best ways of ensuring that your eyes stay healthy is to have regular eye tests at your optometrist (sometimes called optician). These help to find eye problems which can threaten your sight, such age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts. In general, it's advisable to have your eyes tested every two years.

Other factors which can affect the health of your eyes include:

  • Diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, which is important for your general health, as well as the health of your eyes.
  • Smoking Did you know the link between smoking and sight loss is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer?  Smokers are 4 times more likely to get eye disease than those who don't smoke.  The risk can contribute to the development of cataracts and worsen the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetes People with diabetes tend to develop cataracts at an earlier age than others
  • Protection from damage - Many eye injuries are preventable if you take appropriate safety precautions, such as wearing sunglasses in bright sunshine to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet light, or wearing appropriate safety eyewear when using certain power tools or working with chemicals.

Free eye examination

Did you know that you can have an eye examination for free if you have an eye problem that occurs suddenly?

Under the Eye Health Examination Wales (EHEW) initiative you are entitled to have your eyes examined by a registered optometrist if you have an eye problem that occurred suddenly (acutely) which you think requires urgent attention.

You can also have an EHEW if you:

  • have been referred by your GP to an EHEW registered optometrist because of an eye problem
  • have sight in one eye only, i.e. you are effectively blind in your worse eye
  • have a hearing impairment and are profoundly deaf
  • suffer from retinitis pigmentosa
  • have Black African, Black Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi family origins

See your optometrists (optician) for further details.

Optical Services

If you have any worries regarding your eyesight then you should contact your optometrist (optician). Click here to find optometrists (opticians) in your area.

A number of statutory bodies exist to regulate and monitor the standards of optical care provided in Wales:

The General Optical Council (GOC)
The GOC is the statutory body which regulates dispensing opticians and optometrists (opticians). The GOC aims to protect the public and promote high standards of professional conduct and education amongst opticians. It provides advice and guidance regarding standards.

The Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS)
The OCCS is an independent body set up to settle complaints from members of the public who are not satisfied with the optical services they have received in an optical practice.

The College of Optometrists
The College is the professional, scientific and examining body for optometry (opticians) in the UK. The College issues guidelines for professional conduct, facilitates registration under GOC approval and supports research into optometry and ophthalmic-related subjects.

Use our Frequently-asked Questions About Opticians to find out more about the services they provide.

Eye Care Wales.
Eye Care Wales is the website set up by the Welsh Government in order to promote the Welsh Eye Care Services (WECS), a scheme which aims to minimise sight-loss in Wales by means of the following three services;

  • The detection of eye problems in susceptible individuals, such as those with a family history of eye disease, and ensuring urgent attention for acute eye problems via the Eye Health Examination Wales (EHEW) scheme.
  • The provision of a low vision service, via a Low Vision Scheme, which is accessible to any patient with a visual impairment.
  • The Diabetic Eye Screening Wales service is a free screening service for the back of your eyes for all people registered with diabetes in Wales. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you will be referred by your GP and should receive an invitation to attend screening within 3 months of being placed on the DESW register.

Find out more about conditions which can affect your eyes and vision.

Conditions affecting vision

Cataract Surgery
Diabetic Retinopathy
Double Vision
Lazy Eye
Macular Degeneration
Retinal Detatchment
Visual Impairment

Other eye-related conditions

Eye injuries
Eyelid Problems
Herpes Simplex Eye Infections
Watering Eye

Eye Health Care Plan.

In 2013 the Welsh Government published Together for Health: Eye Health Care Delivery Plan for Wales 2013-2018, a five-year plan to improve the eye health of the people of Wales based around three key areas:

  • Raising awareness of eye health and the need for regular sight tests
  • Early detection of eye health and sight problems
  • Ensuring access to high quality services and support

Click here to view the delivery plan.

External links

Healthy eyes are happy eyes - Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
Do you need an eye test (adults) - RNIB Checklist
Do you need an eye test (children) - RNIB Checklist
Free eye health checks for children - RNIB