You qualify for a free NHS-funded sight test if:
- you're aged under 16
- you're aged 16, 17 or 18 and are in full-time education
- you're aged 60 or over
- you're registered as partially sighted (sight impaired) or blind (severely sight impaired)
- you've been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
- you're 40 or over, and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma
- you've been advised by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) that you're at risk of glaucoma
- you're a prisoner on leave from prison
- you're 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:
- receive Income Support
- receive Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (not Contribution-based)
- receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- receive Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- are awarded Universal Credit
- 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. Optometrists recommend that most people should get their eyes tested every two years. However, in some circumstances, they may recommend more frequent NHS sight tests – for example, if you:
- are a child wearing glasses
- have diabetes
- are aged 40 or over and have a family history of glaucoma
- are aged 70 or over
NHS-funded Mobile Eye Tests
If you qualify for a free NHS sight test, you may be entitled to NHS-funded mobile services where the ophthalmic practitioner 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 normally live there and you're unable to leave the home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability
- at a day centre – if you would have difficulty getting a sight test from an optometrist at their practice because of physical or mental illness or disability, or because you have difficulty communicating your health needs without help
Call 111 to find out who provides mobile sight tests in your area.
Proving Your Entitlement to a Free NHS Eye Test
When you go for your sight test, tell your ophthalmic practitioner that you're entitled to a free NHS sight test. They will give you a form called GOS1 to fill in and sign.
You'll be asked to show proof that you're entitled to a free NHS sight test. For more information, see the NHS leaflet Help with health costs (PDF, 439kb). This leaflet explains which documents you will need to prove this.
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 eight voucher values. The values are dependent on the strength of your prescription. The stronger your prescription the higher your voucher value.
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.
For more information download the leaflet HC12: charges and optical vouchers (PDF, 79kb).Back Next