What treatments’s available under the NHS?
Under the NHS, an eye examination is available without charge for all children up to the age of 16, and under 19 in full-time education. As an indication of the recognized importance of children’s sight care, only a qualified practitioner – an optometrist, ophthalmic medical practitioner or dispensing optician registered with the General Optical Council, is permitted by law to supply children’s spectacles. Vision defects can be corrected by optical means, and the registered practitioner is the professional with the training to advise on eyecare matters.
Following an eye examination, if glasses or contact lenses are prescribed, parents are entitled to cash help in the form of a voucher towards the cost of it. The value of the voucher issued is determined by the
prescription needed. Most optical practices are able to offer a range of good quality, low cost frames; putting a few extra pounds towards the glasses opens up the choice of attractive frames considerably.
You are entitled to a free NHS sight test if you are:
under 16 years of age, or 16, 17, or 18 years of age and in full time education,
60 years of age, or over,
registered as blind, or partially sighted,
diagnosed with diabetes, or glaucoma,
40 years of age, or over, and have a first degree relative, such as father, mothers, sister, or brother, with glaucoma, or you have been advised by an opthalmologist (a doctor who specialises in eye conditions) that you are at risk of glaucoma, or you are receiving certain benefits, or credits.
You may also be entitled to a free sight test if you are prescribed certain complex lenses, such as certain types of bifocal, or powerful lenses. Check with your optometrist for more information about this.
If you are eligible for help with NHS costs under the NHS Low Income Scheme, you can claim some or all of the cost of sight tests, glasses and/or contact lenses for you, your partner and your children.
You are already entitled to full help with health costs if you or your partner are receiving Income Support, Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or if you are named on a Tax Credit NHS Exemption Certificate.