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Who is Eligible for an NHS Sight Test and Optical Voucher? A Complete Guide

One of the things we are often asked at the practice is about the criteria and eligibility for patient entitlement for a sight test funded by the National Health Service. Here is a breakdown of who is eligible for an NHS sight test:

  • If you are under 16
  • If you are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education
  • If you are 60 or over
  • If you are registered as partially sighted or blind
  • If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
  • If you are 40 or over and your mother, father, sibling or child has been diagnosed with glaucoma
  • If you have been advised by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) that you’re at risk of glaucoma
  • If you are a prisoner on leave from prison
  • If you are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – we can advise you about your entitlement

You may also qualify for an NHS sight test on an income-related basis. Those who are in receipt of the following also qualify for an NHS sight test:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria
  • A valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate (if you do not have a certificate, you can show your award notice), you qualify if you get Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less
  • A valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

Please be aware that patients who do not qualify for an NHS sight test will be asked to pay the examination fee.

In addition to free sight tests, some are also eligible for optical vouchers from the NHS. These vouchers are used for offering assistance with the cost of spectacles or contact lenses. The following patients may be entitled to an optical voucher:

  • If you are under 16
  • If you are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education
  • If you are a prisoner on leave from prison
  • If you are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – an optician can advise you about your entitlement

As with the sight tests, you may also qualify for an NHS sight test on an income-related basis. Those who are in receipt of the following also qualify for an NHS sight test:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria
  • A valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate (if you do not have a certificate, you can show your award notice), you qualify if you get Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less
  • A valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

Please be aware that in order to claim these entitlements, you may be asked to show proof of any of the above that are applicable to you. Those who are unable to provide evidence of their entitlement may not be issued with an optical voucher. 

If you would like further clarification or consultation on your eligibility for the above, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.