NHS Sight Tests

The NHS refers to eye examinations as eye tests.  Not everyone is entitled to NHS Sight Tests and there are recommended frequency depending on age and circumstance for NHS funded Sight Tests.  If you have had a test recently you may not be entitled to another unless there are specific concerns or symptoms. Please ask us if you need advice.

Who qualifies for NHS funded eye test?

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 eye doctor (ophthalmologist) 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're 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 and meet the criteria on earnings limit

  • 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.


How often can I have an NHS eye test?

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 and wear glasses

  • have diabetes

  • are aged 40 or over and have a family history of glaucoma

  • are aged 70 or over

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 may 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, 104kb).

What if I'm not entitled to a free NHS eye test?

If you don't qualify for a free NHS sight test, you will have to pay for a private sight test.

What should I do if I am not sure if I am entitled to an NHS eye test?

Please call us and we will be please to advise you.

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 optometrist comes to visit you: