Opticians

HIV-related eye problems are now very rare in the UK and taking antiretroviral treatment will prevent the severe immune damage that can lead problems with vision developing.

Regular eye tests – approximately every two years, or more frequently if you are advised these are needed – are recommended for everyone. Monitoring the health of your eyes if important because eye problems do not always have symptoms. Regular eye tests are especially important if you have a family history of eye problems, or if you have (or are at risk of) diabetes. Monitoring the health of your eyes is also important as you age. 

Help should be sought quickly if you experience problems with your vision, such as blurred, distorted or obscured vision.

Opticians check both the quality of your vision and the health of your eyes. You can go to any optician. You don’t have to tell them about your HIV status. However, it could be helpful for the optician to know about any previous eye problems or relevant medical history. 

Opticians are bound by a code of conduct to keep information about patients confidential, and their services are covered by the Equality Act 2010.

Eye tests are normally administered as a private health service, so there is usually a charge. Costs can vary, so you might save money by shopping around. However, eye tests are free in some circumstances to some people. For more information, see NAM’s booklet HIV, GPs & other primary care.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.