Eye examinations

Eye examinationsA regular eye examination is an important health check for everyone. You should have an eye examination every two years or as often as recommended by your optician, even if you don’t have any problems with your sight.

An eye examination can often detect the early signs of many eye and general health conditions before you become aware of any symptoms. This includes glaucoma, diabetes, raised blood pressure or cholesterol levels.

If you have a macular condition it is still important to have a regular eye examination with your optician to monitor any changes. 

Will I have to pay for an eye examination?

You are entitled to a NHS free eye examination if you are:

  • Over 60 years old
  • Registered severely sight impaired or sight impaired
  • A person with diabetes or glaucoma
  • Aged 40 or over and have a close relative with glaucoma
  • Considered to be at risk of glaucoma by an ophthalmologist
  • Under 16 or under 19 and still in full-time education
  • Needing a prescription classed as complex lenses
  • Receiving the following benefits: income support, income based job seekers allowance, pension credit guarantee or income-based employment & support allowance (or your partner is receiving them)
  • Entitled to, or named on, a valid tax credit exemption certificate or a HC2 certificate
  • Living in Scotland.

There are restrictions on how often you can have a free eye examination. If you have more than the amount permitted you will be charged the private eye examination fee.

If you are on a low income but are not covered by any of the above categories ask your optician or GP for a HC1 form or telephone 0845 850 1166.

NHS-funded mobile eye testsEye Test

If you are housebound you may be entitled to an NHS-funded mobile sight test, where the optometrist comes to visit you:

  • In your own home
  • At a residential or care home
  • At a day centre

Call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 to find out the contact details for providers that cover your area.