NHS eye tests

Who qualifies for NHS funded eye tests?

You qualify for a free NHS-funded sight test if:

  • You're aged under 16

  • You're 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 ophthalmologist (a specialist eye doctor) 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 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 

  • Receive 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, you may be eligible for more frequent eye tests 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 optometrist that you're entitled to a free NHS sight test. They will give you a blue 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.


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 happy 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.