Many patients are entitled to free eye examinations under the NHS and some on a low income will receive help with the cost of spectacles or contact lenses. We have listed below the current list of eligible categories but this does change as government policy alters entitlement to certain benefits, so for the latest information check the NHS Choices website or contact us for advice.
You qualify for a free NHS-funded sight test if:
• you’re aged under 16
• you’re aged 16, 17 or 18 and are in full-time education
• you’re aged 60 or over
• you’re registered as partially sighted (sight impaired) or blind (severely sight impaired)
• you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
• you’re 40 or over, and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma
• you’ve been advised by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) that you’re at risk of glaucoma
• you’re a prisoner on leave from prison
• you’re eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your optometrist (optician) can advise you about your entitlement
You’re also entitled to a free NHS sight test if you:
• receive Income Support
• receive Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (not Contribution-based)
• receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
• receive Income-based Employment and Support Allowance (not Contribution-based)
• are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
• on a low income and named on a valid HC2 (full help) or HC3 (partial help) certificate
NHS-funded eye tests at home
Some people are entitled to an NHS-funded eye test at home (also known as a domiciliary sight test), where the ophthalmic practitioner comes to visit you:
• in your own home
• at a residential or care home
• at a day centre
If you qualify for a free NHS sight test, you may be entitled to mobile services:
• at home: if you’re unable to leave home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability
• at a residential or care home: if you normally live there and you’re unable to leave the home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability
• at a day centre: if you would have difficulty getting a sight test from an optometrist at their practice because of physical or mental illness or disability, or because you have difficulty communicating your health needs without help
You may get an NHS Voucher help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses if you:
• are aged under 16, or aged under 19 and in full-time education or
• are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher (your optician will advise you on your entitlement)
You may also get an NHS optical voucher if:
• You receive Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (not contribution-based)
• You receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
• You receive Income-based Employment and Support Allowance.
• You are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate.
• You are named on a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2). People named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3) may also get help.
You will be asked to show proof of your entitlement.
There are currently eight voucher values. The values are dependent on the strength of your prescription. The stronger your prescription, the higher your voucher value. Current voucher values can be found here .
For more advice on your NHS entitlement, contact us.