Entitlement to NHS help
You qualify for a free NHS-funded sight test if:
- you are under 16
- you are under 19 and in full-time education
- you are 60 or over
- you are registered as blind or partially sighted
- you have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
- you are 40 or over, and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma
- you have been advised by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) that you are at risk of glaucoma
- you are a prisoner on leave from prison
- you are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your optometrist (optician) can advise you about your entitlement
You are also entitled to a free NHS sight test if you:
You may be entitled to a reduced cost sight test if you have a low income and are named on a valid NHS HC3 certificate for partial help with health costs.
There is also help with the cost of spectacles if:
- are under 16
- are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education
- are a prisoner on leave from prison
- are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your optician can advise you about your entitlement
You also qualify for an optical voucher if you:
You may be entitled to an optical voucher if you have a low income and are named on a valid NHS HC3 certificate for partial help with health costs.
NHS complex lens vouchers
To be eligible, your lenses need to be either -10/+10 dioptres or more, or prism-controlled bifocal lenses.
Complex lens vouchers are a contribution towards the cost of these lenses – currently £14.60 for single vision lenses and £37.40 for bifocal lenses.
The vouchers are only available to those who meet the clinical criteria and aren’t eligible for one of the main optical vouchers.
Mobile sight test
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 the home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability
- at a day centre – if you can’t get a sight test at an optician’s practice because of physical or mental illness or disability, or difficulties communicating your health needs unaided
People who are on low income may also be able to receive NHS help. There are application forms available from reception.