Eye Care

Committed to Eye Care

At Dawkins & Lodge we are commited to providing the full package for the care of your eyes.

We offer a comprehensive service including eye tests (NHS, Private and the Eyeplan™ Scheme) and advanced diagnostic testing (Field Tests, Retinal Photography and Optical Coherence Tomography).

Eyesight Tests

The NHS recommends that everyone has a sight test, once every two years, and more regularly for certain groups. It is not only about correcting problems with your vision. An eye sight test can also indicate the presence of other health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and even brain tumours.

Many eye conditions are hereditary, and those with history of problems in the family are recommended to have a more frequent sight test, usually annually. In addition, the youngest and more elderly are recommended for annual testing, or more often. Finally, some ethnic groups are recommended for more frequent testing.

Included in the changes to funding in the NHS has been the tightening on rules relating to when people can have eye operations. This makes it ever more important that the earliest possible dianosis is achieved to enable the right care packages to be put into place to minimise the effects of any disease affacting the eyes.

Our Sight Tests & Opticians

All of our Sight Tests, whether they are NHS, Private or through our Eyeplan™ package, are equally thorough. Our two Primary Opticians are owner, Nigel Gemmell, who has over 30 years‘ experience with the Optical Profession, and founder of the business, Mike Dawkins. Mike has been testing the eyes of the people of Hythe and Waterside for over 40 years.

In addition, we offer a Domicilliary Site Testing service, where patients can be tested within the comfort of their own homes.

NHS Sight Tests - who is eligible?

The following people are eligible for free sight tests through the NHS:

  • Under 16s
  • Under 19 and in full-time education
  • Over 60s
  • Registered as blind or partially sighted
  • Over 40 AND having a direct relative who has glaucoma
  • You've been advised by an Opthalmologist that you are at risk of glaucoma
  • Prisoners on leave from prison
  • You are eligible for a NHS Complex Lens Voucher

In addition, you are eligible for a free sight test if you are in receipt of any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (not contribution based)
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Income Based Employment and Support Allowance (not contribution based)
  • Entitled to or named on a valid NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
  • Named on a valid NHS Certificate for full help with Health Costs (HC2)

Domiciliary NHS Sight Test

In addition to meeting the criteria for the NHS Test, those patients who meet the criteria below are eligible for a Domiciliary NHS Sight Test. This is where the optometrist comes to you either in your own home, care home or day centre.

  • At home - if you are unable to leave home unaccompanied due to disability or physical or mental illness
  • At your care home - if you normally live there, and you are unable to leave home unaccompanied due to disability or physical or mental illness
  • At a day care centre - if you would have difficulty getting a sight test from an optometrist at their practice because of disability or physical or mental illness or because you have difficulty communicating your health needs without help

Private Sight Test

All other members of the community can pay for a private sight test. Also, people who qualify for a NHS test can pay for a private sight test if they wish for one to be undertaken more regularly than the NHS permits.

Patients can have a private sight test as frequently as they wish, although we would recommend this at two yearly intervals.

Eyeplan™ Scheme

Dawkins & Lodge Opticians have teamed up with Eyeplan™ to provide the best in optical care for our patients. For a relatively small monthly fee, patients enjoy unlimited access to our services, as well as greatly reduced costs against spectacles, contact lenses and all other products.

Patients who join our Eyeplan™ Eye Care Scheme, which requires payment of a modest monthly fee, receive free sight tests. In addition to the sight test, an OCT scan is undertaken - also free of charge. Patients are welcome to have as many sight tests as they feel necessary, so this scheme is particularly inviting to those with eye disease.

eyeplanTM Scheme

a great way to look after your eyes and get great value on your eye wear

For more information, please Contact Us, pop in to the Hythe Practice or call us on 023 8084 3798

Diagnostic Tools

We can check for Visual Fields where the Optician feels it is advantageous, and use Retinal Photography to aid the diagnostic process.  We can also undertake an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scan of your eye, which can show problems from their earliest stages, giving a head start on diagnosis and enabling earlier treatment, with the best possible chance of avoiding sight loss.

Retinal Photography

We utilise a retinal camera to photograph the interior surface of the eye, including the retina, optical disc, macula and posterior pole (the fundus).


This gives our Optometrists the opportunity to monitor progression of a disease, to screen for potential problems and to provide comparisons with previous photographs to see where changes to the retina have occurred.

Optical Coherence Tomography

This is the very latest technology designed to aid optical professionals detect eye disease at the earliest stages.

In lay-persons terms, this is the equivalent of the “optical ultrasound”, although in fact it achieves higher resolution imaging than either ultrasound or MRI.


There is no “norm” for the eye and we are all individuals but by ensuring an image is taken of your retina, at an early stage, it is easier to see when changes occur and to take appropriate action.

Visual Field Testing

Dawkins & Lodge are a DVLA approved testing centre for Visual Fileds. As well as carrying out Field testing on behalf of the DVLA, we also undertake Field Testing for those considered at risk of Glaucoma.


This is combined with our other methods of tracking the development of this eye disease and gives the best possible route towards early diagnosis and care.