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Are You Eligible For A Free Eye Test, Or Free Glasses?

Our eyesight is vital, and most of us will have our eyes checked regularly to ensure our vision is as good as it can be.

Many people will pay for having their eyes tested, either as a one-off charge or as part of a subscription package; however, you could be eligible for a free eye test; here's how to find out if you are!

Free NHS eye tests

You're entitled to a free NHS sight test if you:

  • are under 16

  • are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education

  • are 60 or over

  • are registered as partially sighted or blind

  • have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma

  • are 40 or over, and your mother, father, sibling, or child has been diagnosed with glaucoma

  • have been advised by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) that you're at risk of glaucoma

  • are a prisoner on leave from prison

  • are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your optician can advise you about your entitlement

You're also entitled if you or your partner – including your civil partner – receive, or you're under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone receiving:

  • Income Support

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit

  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria

If you're entitled to or named on:

  • a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate (if you do not have a certificate, you can show your award notice), you qualify if you get Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less

  • 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 with the cost of a private sight test.

Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS)

If eligible for the free eye test, you may also qualify for an optical voucher for help towards the cost of your glasses or contact lenses.

If you're eligible for a free NHS sight test, you may also be entitled to a mobile sight test. This is when an optometrist comes to visit you:

  • 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're a resident and unable to leave home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability

  • at a day centre – if you cannot get a sight test at an optician's practice because of physical or mental illness or disability, or have difficulties communicating your health needs unaided

Even if you aren't eligible for a free eye test from the NHS, you may be able to claim back the cost of one from your employer.

An employer must provide an eyesight test for a display screen equipment user if they request one. This would be anyone who needs to use a screen for work, such as a computer monitor or laptop. The employer is expected to pay for this test.

This should be a full eye and eyesight test by an optometrist or doctor, including a vision test and an eye examination.

It's up to the employer how they provide the test. For example, they could let users arrange the tests and reimburse them for the cost later, or they could send all their eligible staff to a particular optician or have an optician attend the work premises.

The typical price for an eye test is £20-£25. The exact price will vary depending on where you are and whether you're looking to use a local independent optician or a branch of a larger chain.

Information correct as of the 19th August 2022


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