Do drivers have to have regular eye tests?


At present, the legal eyesight requirement for driving is simply to be able to read a number plate at a distance of 20.5 metres. If the number plate has the narrower font, the distance is 20 metres. Drivers are required to undertake this check, wearing glasses or contact lenses if necessary, before taking their practical driving test. Drivers have three attempts to read the number plate correctly. Thereafter, the responsibility is on the driver to self-report to the DVLA if they believe that their vision does not meet this requirement. A driver is not legally required to state that their vision is adequate until they reach the age of 70. From this age, drivers receive a licence renewal form, which requires them to state that they are fit to drive, every three years thereafter. Currently it is only vocational drivers who are required to have their vision checked on a regular basis – when they renew their licence.


Get your eyes checked now at Hankinson Optometrists - your Hebburn opticians

If small print has become 'blurry' do I need to wear glasses for reading?

If you are struggling to read small print, you could be suffering from presbyopia. This is a condition in which objects you are close to do not come into proper focus. Presbyopia is a condition normally related to age. Signs include difficulty in focusing on near objects such as newspapers, or books, eye strain, fatigue and - or - headaches after close work. Glasses can easily help solve the problem.

Book your appointment now at Hankinson Optometrists - your Hebburn opticians

 If I have to squint to see distant objects, do I need to wear glasses?

 If you are struggling to see distant obejcts, you could be suffering from short sightedness or myopia. This common condition can be corrected with prescription spectacles or contact lenses. If you are a driver, it is particularly important to ensure your vision is up to the legal requirement - pop in to Hankinson Opticians in Hebburn to see if your eyesight is good enough.

Book an appointment at Hankinson Optometrists - your Hebburn opticians - on 4832425

Did you know?


 Up to 1 million children in the UK currently have an undetected vision problem?

 • Up to 18 million drivers took to the roads over Christmas and New Year, yet only 5% of drivers are able to state correctly the current statutory viewing distance?

• A sight test can highlight other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and even brain tumours – all of which can be picked up on a retinal camera which takes a photo of the back of your eye?

• The eye is the only place in the body where a clinician can see blood vessels without cutting you open?


How do eyes work?


The eye is like a camera. It lets light in through the cornea, which is like a camera's aperture. The amount of light allowed in is controlled by the pupil, which opens and closes a bit like a shutter. The light focuses on the retina, which sends the image to the brain, acting as film would in order to record the light (the photo itself).

Other eye structures support the main activity of sight: some carry fluids (such as tears and blood) to lubricate or nourish the eye. Others are muscles that allow the eye to move. Some protect the eye from injury (such as the lids and the epithelium of the cornea). And some are messengers, sending sensory information to the brain (such as the pain-sensing nerves in the cornea and the optic nerve behind the retina)1.



Should paper tissues be used to clean my spectacles?


If you have plastic lenses fitted in your spectacles then dry tissues may scratch them. Our advice would be to dampen the tissue, or use soapy water with a soft cloth. Spectacles with anti-glare coatings on the lenses should be cleaned with a special cloth and spray.



There is a history of glaucoma in my family, what is the likelihood of me inheriting the disease?


If family members have glaucoma, there is more of a risk of you developing it, but it can be treated effectively if it is diagnosed in time. Be sure to have a regular eye examination.

What shaped glasses would suit me best?

Choosing the right eyewear can enhance your appearance by emphasising your

favourite facial features.


There are several factors to consider when choosing the right spectacles

for your face, including colour, shape, size and material.


However, the easiest way to start narrowing your choice is to determine

your face shape.


There are four basic shapes: round, square (or oblong), heart and oval.

If you’re not sure which category you’re in, try tracing the outline of your

face on a clear photograph of yourself. Step back and examine the outline

you’ve drawn. You should be able to see which shape your face resembles



If you’re still unsure, the following guide, which also gives you some

advice on which shaped glasses will suit you best, should also offer some

further help:



The softest of faces, where the forehead is noticeably wider than the chin

(creating an upside-down triangle).


You should look for frames that are thin and slightly rounded. Oval or

rectangle frames are ideal, as are any with a broader bottom than top,

bringing balance to the width of your temples. The goal is also to broaden the chin.


Consider light metal or plastic materials, and avoid any frames that could

emphasise your wide forehead or narrow chin. Avoid heavy brow detailing and

spectacles with double bridges.


Celebrities with square faces include:

• Jennifer Aniston

• Colin Farrell

• Reese Witherspoon



People with oval-shaped faces are lucky with what is said to be the most

balanced proportions – thus the ideal shape. They will look good in almost

any shape or style of glasses.


Their facial characteristics include high cheek bones, a chin slightly

narrowe than the forehead and a face slightly longer than it is wide.


Recommended shaped glasses are basically any, including rectangle, round,

square, oval, aviator, wrap, rimless or Wayfarer.


Frames that are slightly wider that the broadest part of the face will

emphasise the oval’s natural proportions.


Those to avoid are those frames too big or too small as they would disrupt the balance of the face.


Celebrities with square faces include:

•  Jude Lawe

•  George Clooney

•  Beyonce



These faces are just as you’d imagine they would be – circular, full and

without any strong angles. Features include full cheeks, a wide forehead

and a rounded chin.


Here, you should be looking for frames that add contrast to the face’s

natural curves, avoiding any that exaggerate the natural roundness. Choose

glasses that are wider than they are deep, as wider frames make the face

seem slimmer.


Best shaped frames to try include rectangle, square, Wayfarer, wrap,

semi-rinless or cat-eye. Avoid over-rounded frames, small frames or

completely rimless frames that lack the lines needed to contrast and balance

the face.


Celebrities with square faces include:

•   Zac Efron

•   Cameron Diaz

•   Jack Black



Typically, square faces are angular, with strong jawlines. Features

include broad cheeks and chin, a wide forehead and a face of equal width

and length.


Choose glasses that lengthen and soften the face, and avoid frames that

exaggerate the sharpness of the facial features. Best shaped frames include

round, oval, rimless, aviator or wrap.


Rounded frames will add curves while drawing attention away from the square

jawline. Decorative or geometric frames can also work well, breaking up the

long lines of the face.


Avoid boxy, angular frames or glasses with colour on the bottom of the

frame that may draw attention to the chin.


Celebrities with square faces include:

•  Tom Cruise

•  Demi Moore

•  Sandra Bullock

Who qualifies for a free NHS sight test?

You are entitled to a free NHS sight test if you are:

  • 16 or under (or under 19 if in full-time education)
  • 60 years of age or over
  • Registered blind or partially sighted
  • 40 years of age or over, and have a first degree relative, such as a brother, sister, father or mother who has glaucoma or you have been advised that you are at risk of glaucoma

You may also be entitled to a free sight test if you are prescribed certain complex lenses, such as certain types of bifocal or powerful lenses.

You are also entitled to a free NHS sight test if you, or your partner, are receiving the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit Guaranteed Credit
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (not contribution based)
  • You are named on a Tax Credit NHS Exemption Certificate or
  • You are named on a NHS certificate (HC2) for full help with health costs

So book your appointment now at Hankinson Optometrists - your Hebburn opticians

How would I know my child is having a problem with their vision?

There are several symptoms that may indicate attention is required. They include squinting, rubbing their eyes, turning or tilting head, losing their place or using a finger to follow along when reading, mouthing words while reading, headaches, red eyes, wandering eyes or complaints of blurred vision. There are, however, disorders that have no symptoms. Children need their eyesd examined by the age of 3.


When should I replace my contact lenses?

Your replacement time varies depending on eye health, lifestyle and your environment, time worn per day and days worn per week. Disposable lens replacement options can vary from daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and even quarterly. Your optometrist will assess your eye health and vision with your contact lenses to ensure you are following an appropriate wearing regime.