NHS sight test

Eye care entitlement 


Some groups of patients are entitled to a free NHS sight test and optical vouchers to help with 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 for them.


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


  • 60 or over

  • Under 16

  • A full time student aged 16, 17, 18


I / my partner recieve

  • Income Support

  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Pension Credit guarantee credit

  • Tax Credit


I am

  • Named on a valid HC2 certificate

  • Registered blind/partially sighted

  • Suffer from diabetes / glaucoma

  • Considered to be a risk of glaucoma by an Ophthalmologist

  • 40 or over and am the parent / brother / sister / child of a person who has or had glaucoma

  • A prisoner on leave from prison

  • Have been prescribed complex lenses under the NHS optical voucher scheme


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


  • Under 16

  • Full time student aged 16, 17, 18

  • 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)

  • Receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.

  • Receive Income-based Employment and Support Allowance.

  • Are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate.

  • 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 staff.

There are currently ten 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.