The NHS, together with Specsavers, will cover the full cost of an eye test for anyone who qualifies (funding does not apply to everyone). In some cases, the NHS will also give an optical voucher towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses. Find out if you qualify and what you need to do to receive your free eye test. 

Who qualifies for an NHS-funded eye test?

UK residents are eligible for an NHS-funded eye test if they meet certain criteria. Find out who qualifies or doesn’t qualify using the information below. 

Scottish residents aged between 16 and 60 can have an NHS-funded eye examination every two years, if required. This provision only applies to eye examinations conducted in Scotland. In the Isle of Man, eye tests are free to anyone on the IOM NHS. 
 

Who qualifies?
AgeMedicalIncomeOther
0-15Registered as partially sighted or blind Receive Income Support (you or your partner) Prisoner on leave from prison
16, 17 or 18 and in full time educationDiagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma Receive Income-based (not Contribution based) Jobseeker’s Allowance (you or your partner)Eligible for an NHS complex voucher
60 or overAdvised by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) that you’re at risk or glaucoma Receive Income-based Employment (not Contribution-based) and Support Allowance (you or your partner)
Aged 40 or over and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma Receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit (you or your partner) 
Entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate (you or your partner)
On a low income and named on a valid HC2 (full help) certificate (you or your partner)
If you or your partner are named on a valid HC3 certificate, you might be able to get partial help towards the cost of your eye test. Ask in store.

Information sourced from the NHS. 
Who does not qualify?

Unfortunately, you are not entitled to an NHS-funded eye test if you only receive the following: 

  • Child Benefit 
  • Disability Living Allowance 
  • Incapacity Benefit 
  • Housing Benefit 
  • Maternity Benefit 
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Tax Credit without an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
  • Pension Credit Savings Credit on its own 

NHS staff are not automatically entitled to this NHS-funded eye test either.

If you’re not sure whether you qualify for an NHS-funded eye test, please visit your local Specsavers store and we’ll be happy to help.

What to bring to your eye test

Here’s what you need to bring with you to your appointment to show you qualify for an NHS-funded eye test (and in some cases, an NHS optical voucher for glasses too).

Proof you qualify

You only need to show one of these items, relevant to your circumstances (unless stated otherwise) as proof you qualify for an NHS-funded eye test or an NHS optical voucher for glasses. 

See items you require for proof
Reason you qualifyWhat you qualify forWhat you can show as proof you qualify
Aged 0 - 15 An NHS-funded eye test (and an NHS optical voucher for glasses)Birth certificate
Aged 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education An NHS-funded eye test (and an NHS optical voucher for glasses) Passport Student card Driving license 
Aged 60 or over An NHS-funded eye test National Insurance Number Passport Driving license 
Registered as partially sighted or blindAn NHS-funded eye test Certificate of registration as partially sighted or blind 
Diagnosed with diabetes An NHS-funded eye test Doctor's name and surgery address 
Diagnosed with glaucoma An NHS-funded eye test Statement that you are a glaucoma sufferer 
Advised by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) that you're at risk of glaucoma An NHS-funded eye test Statement that you are at risk of developing a glaucoma 
Aged 40 or over and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma An NHS-funded eye test National Insurance Number Passport Driving license 
You are receiving benefits that entitle you to NHS funding for eyecareAn NHS-funded eye test (and an NHS optical voucher for glasses) An entitlement letter stating the benefits you receive 
Your partner is receiving benefits that entitle you to NHS funding for eyecare An NHS-funded eye test (and an NHS optical voucher for glasses) Partners need to: be married or living together; have all of their partner's details; and be able to prove the benefit received 
You or your partner are receiving Pension Credit Guarantee Credit An NHS-funded eye test (and an NHS optical voucher for glasses) Award notice from the Pension Centre 
Entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate An NHS-funded eye test (and an NHS optical voucher for glasses) A valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate 
In need of complex lenses An NHS-funded eye test (and an NHS optical voucher for glasses) No proof needed - the optician will decide during the eye test if complex lenses are required 

The GOS1 form 

When you come in store for your eye test, you’ll be asked to declare the reason and sign the NHS declaration stating that you’re entitled to an NHS-funded eye test. You’ll also be asked to show the relevant proof that you qualify.  

 

Universal Credit

If you're in receipt of Universal Credit you are entitled to NHS eyecare but need to show us your certificate on entitlement when you attend for your appointment. You can apply for a certificate using form HC1 which is available here. If you don’t have your certificate we can still see you as a private patient and you can reclaim your entitlement on a HC5 form as detailed on the last page of the HC1.

​NHS-funded eye examinations in Scotland and Isle of Man

Scotland 

The Scottish Government funds NHS eye examinations, free to all residents. If you are aged between 16 and 60 you can have an NHS-funded eye examination every two years, if required. This provision only applies to eye examinations conducted in Scotland. Certain people can have an NHS-funded eye examination once a year, if required, including if you are: 

  • Under 16 
  • Aged 60 or over 
  • Diabetic or have ocular hypertension or glaucoma 
  • Over 40 and have a mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter with glaucoma 

If you have concerns about your vision or your eyes before your next NHS eye examination is due, speak to your optician as you may be able to have another NHS-funded eye examination.

Booking your free NHS-funded eye test in Scotland is easy. Book now.

Isle of Man 

In the Isle of Man, eye tests are free to all residents. 

How often you can have an NHS-funded eye test?

If you qualify, you are entitled to have an NHS-funded eye test every two years. Your optician may recommend more frequent eye tests if you are: 

  • Diabetic
  • Over 40 with a family history of glaucoma
  • Over 70
  • Under 16 and wear glasses
  • Experiencing particular vision problems

You can book your NHS-funded eye test at Specsavers online today