I've worn glasses since I was at secondary school.
I can vividly remember the moment that I realised I needed them. I was sitting in maths class peering at an indecipherable squiggle on the board that turned out to be an algebra equation, desperately trying to read it as my teacher pressed me for the answer.
"I can't read the board" was not what she was looking for but, unfortunately, it was the best I could do.
Thirteen years later and the glasses are a permanent fixture, but I still forget to have regular eye tests.
Opticians recommend that you should have a test every two years or every year for the under 16s and over 60s.
However, my last one was four years ago and, with World Sight Day on Thursday, October 10, I'm heading to Vision Express in Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow, for a check-up.
The appointment, which takes around 30 minutes, starts with some tests that check my field of vision, the pressure behind my eyes, the muscles and how well my peepers work together.
It then moves on to the eye test itself where my vision and current prescription are checked. I also get to try on contact lenses as part of a comfort test.
As I suspected, I need a slightly stronger prescription but optometrist Aine Kerrin also gives me general advice on how to look after my eyes and keep them healthy.
However, it's not just changes in your sight that can be detected during an eye test. Signs of other illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure can also be picked up.
Aine, who has worked at Vision Express for three years, said: "A lot of people just assume that a vision check is just for glasses but in actual fact there's a lot of emphasis on the health of the eyes because you can tell so much from them. It's not just a vision check, it's a health check of the eyes too."
According to the Eyecare Trust, 20 million of us do not get our eyes checked once every two years and one in 10 have never had an eye examination.
A recent report commissioned by National Eye Health Week in conjunction with Vision Express found that almost two million people in the UK are living with sight loss and forecasters predict a further 500,000 could lose their sight by 2020. However, the Royal National Institute of Blind People estimates that as much as half of all sight loss is avoidable.
The report also found that poor lifestyle habits and diet are putting vision and eye health at risk and a meagre uptake of regular sight tests is the biggest risk to the nation's eye health.
Aine said: "I don't know why people put off getting their eyes checked. I think a lot of people, especially patients that don't wear glasses, don't see the point in a check because they don't realise the importance of the health side of it."
Another employee who can help, at Vision Express's Braehead store, is Julie Drummond, who recently took part in a distance learning scheme to qualify as a dispensing optician, which was funded by the company.
Julie began working as a sales associate and became assistant manager before starting her diploma in September 2010. She was one of 12 people sent on the course by Vision Express and was recently awarded the Derek McLaren Memorial Award after receiving the highest marks in the UK in her exams.
The chain celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. It opened its first store in 1988 and now has more than 330 shops nationwide.
To mark its anniversary, Vision Express will be raising money for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, a nationwide charity that helps families and individuals affected by retinoblastoma.
More than 4000 employees from the company's stores will take part in a variety of fundraising events for the charity, including a 176-mile, three-day cycle called Ride4Sight that starts at the chain's first store in Gateshead, which opened in 1988, on Friday, October 11 and ends at its head office in Nottingham on Sunday, October 13.
Forty volunteers, including Aine and senior lab production technician Peter Harold from the Buchanan Galleries store, will take part in the challenge, alongside former Olympic cycling medallist Bryan Steel, paralympian and trust patron Darren Harris, and Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson.
Mr Lawson said: "We're extremely proud to be celebrating 25 years of successful trading. This milestone is no mean feat given the recent economic climate and it gives us the opportunity to join with our stores and customers nationwide in a meaningful way - helping to raise money for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, which we've supported as our nominated charity since 2010.
"In addition to 'Ride4Sight', our stores are rolling their sleeves up to run their own local events, and we've set ourselves a fundraising target in excess of £50,000, which we hope will make a real difference to CHECT."
The anniversary fundraising has already raised over £25,000 for the charity.
Vision Express is currently the only UK optician to have adopted the trust''s new protocol to prevent children with eye cancer having their diagnosis delayed. The chain is trying to raise awareness of the condition and ensures its staff offer parents correct information about who to seek help from and when.
Trust chief executive Joy Felgate said: "The funds raised through the partnership between Vision Express and the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust during the 25 year celebrations will help ensure that when a parent's worst nightmare is realised and they are told the devastating news that their child has eye cancer, they do not have to face this on their own.
"CHECT provides a comprehensive, life-long support service from the point of diagnosis of the child. We also campaign to raise vital awareness of the signs of the condition and fund groundbreaking research projects that will benefit children in the future. We are extremely grateful for everything Vision Express does to help us educate others about this life-threatening condition and to raise much-needed funds to enable us to continue this vital work."
To donate to CHECT or sponsor the Vision Express volunteers on their Ride4Sight visit www.justgiving.com/visionexpressbikeride or text VEBR£(value) to 70070.