NHS Testing

Some groups of patients are entitled to a free NHS sight test and an optical voucher to help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses.

Patients who are not eligible for NHS sight tests will pay privately for a sight test.

The section below will explain if you are entitled to a free NHS sight test or NHS optical voucher and how to claim them.

Am I entitled to free NHS sight tests?

You qualify ­­­for a free NHS funded sight test if you are:

  • Aged under 16, or aged under 19 and in full-time education
  • Aged 60 or over
  • Registered sight impaired or severely sight impaired
  • Diagno­sed with diabetes or glaucoma
  • Aged 40 or over and you are the parent, brother, sister, son or daughter of a person diagnosed with glaucoma, or you have been advised by an ophthalmologist that you are at risk of glaucoma
  • Eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher

You are also entitled to a free NHS sight test 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 awarded Universal Credit
  • 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.

Am I entitled to an NHS optical voucher?

You may get help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses if you:

  • Are aged under 16, or aged under 19 and in full-time education
  • Are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher (your optometrist 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 awarded Universal Credit
  • 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 to the optical voucher to the ophthalmic practitioner or a member of their staff.

If you receive an NHS optical voucher, you are free to take it to any supplier of your choice, providing they accept NHS optical vouchers. If your glasses or contact lenses cost more than your voucher value, you will have to pay the difference.

Information taken from NHS