Some groups of patients are entitled to free NHS sight tests and optical vouchers to help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses. Patients who are not eligible for NHS sight tests will pay privately.
The section below will explain if you are entitled to a free NHS sight test or NHS optical voucher and how to claim them
NHS funded sight test
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 blind or partially sighted
- 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
- a prisoner on leave from prison
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.
Also read about the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS).request an eye test
NHS-funded mobile sight test
An NHS-funded mobile sight test is where an optometrist comes to visit you in your own home or at a day centre.
If you are eligible for an NHS-funded sight test you may also be entitled to a mobile sight test. If you meet one of the criteria listed below then you may have your sight test at
If you are unable to leave home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability
- a residential or care home
If you are a resident and you are unable to leave the home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability
- a day centre
If you cannot get a sight test at an optician’s practice because of physical or mental illness, disability or because of difficulties in communicating your health needs unaided.
Glasses and frames
NHS Optical Vouchers
Reduced cost frames and subsidised lenses for people on an NHS voucher including a wide range of frames that will be of no cost with single vision or bifocal lenses
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 or
- are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher (your ophthalmic practitioner will advise you on your entitlement)
- a prisoner on leave from prison
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.
There are currently ten voucher values. The value of a voucher can range from £38.70 to £213.40, depending on the strength of the lenses you need. The stronger your prescription the higher your voucher value.
If, for clinical reasons, you need tints or prisms in your glasses, the value of the voucher will be increased to reflect this.
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.Glasses Contact lenses