Can I get a free eye examination (eye test)?

Depending on where you live in the UK, you might be entitled to a free eye examination. This doesn't cover the cost of glasses (unless you are receiving benefits).

If you live in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

You qualify for a free NHS eye examination if you are:

  • under 16, or aged under 19 and in full-time education
  • 60 or over
  • registered blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired)
  • diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
  • 40 or over and you are the close relative of someone with glaucoma, or you have been advised by an ophthalmologist that you are at risk of it
  • are a prisoner on leave from prison
  • eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher.

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

  • you receive a means-tested benefit (specifically Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, or Universal Credit)
  • you are entitled to, or named on, either a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate or a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2).


If you are a UK resident, you can get a free NHS eye examination from any optometrist in Scotland who provides NHS services. Most High Street opticians have optometrists who provide NHS services. You can claim a free test every two years.

Further information on the help you can get with NHS costs can be found on RNIB's Help with NHS costs webpage.

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