Free NHS eye tests
Trying to work out whether you qualify for NHS help for eye tests and glasses can be confusing. There are so many different terms and criteria. We want to help. At Specsavers, we aim to offer the clearest information possible to help you find the best deal for you. If after reading this page, you still have questions, please feel free to contact your local Specsavers and our friendly staff will be happy to help.
Before your eye test
When you come into store for an eye test, staff help you fill out a GOS1 form before you see the optician. This is an NHS form, which will help us determine whether you qualify for a free NHS eye test, or not.
Who is eligible for a free NHS eye test?
Many people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are eligible for a free NHS eye test.
You qualify for a free NHS-funded sight test if you:
- are under 16
- are 16, 17 or 18 and are in full-time education
- are 60 or over
- are registered as partially sighted (sight impaired) or blind (severely sight impaired)
- have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
- are 40 or over, and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma
- have been advised by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) that you’re at risk of glaucoma
- are a prisoner on leave from prison
- are 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
- are on a low income and named on a valid HC2 certificate
- Partial help: if you are named on a valid HC3 certificate you might get some help towards the cost of a private sight test
If you’re not sure whether you qualify for a free NHS eye test, visit your local Specsavers and our staff will be happy to help. Click here to find your nearest store.
How often can you have a free NHS eye test?
Adults and children are normally advised to have a sight test every two years. However, in some circumstances, your optician may recommend more frequent NHS sight tests.
For example, this may include people who:
- have diabetes
- are over 40 with a family history of glaucoma
- are over 70
- are under 16 and wear glasses
- have particular problems with your vision
If you are eligible for free NHS eye tests and you have concerns about your vision or eye health and it is less than two years since your last eye test, visit your local Specsavers and our staff will be able to advise you if you are able to have another free NHS eye test.
NHS help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses
Free NHS eye examinations in Scotland and the Isle of Man
In Scotland, NHS eye examinations are funded by the Scottish Government and are available to all residents. If you are aged between 16 and 60 you can have a free NHS eye examination once every two years if required
Certain people can have a free NHS eye examination once a year, if required, including if you:
- are under 16
- are aged 60 or over
- have ocular hypertension or diabetes
- have glaucoma
- are over 40 and have a mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter with glaucoma
If you have concerns with your vision or your eyes before your next NHS eye examination is due, you should speak to your optician as you may be able to have a free NHS eye examination. The guide to free NHS eye examinations in Scotland provides more information. To find out more go to www.scotland.gov.uk and search for ‘eye examinations’.
Book an appointment now.
Isle of Man
Eye tests are free to everyone under the NHS in the Isle of Man.
Book an appointment now.