The key to good vision is having regular eye examinations. They provide a valuable health check as well as enabling you to see better with the right glasses.

They’re especially important as you get older. Old age is the highest risk factor in the development of eye conditions that cause visual loss. One in 12 people will have a serious problem by the time they are 60 – and this increases significantly to one in 6 when they have reached 75. Yet around six million older people are putting their general health as well as their eyesight at risk by not having regular eye examinations. As well as providing better vision with an up-to-date prescription, an eye examination can detect conditions such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. If discovered early enough, many eye diseases can be effectively treated. But if ignored can lead to blindness.

It’s not just the increased risk of eye disease that particularly affects older people. Poor vision greatly increases the risk of falls. In fact, falls represent the most common and serious type of accident for this age group. One in 3 people aged over 65 has a bad fall at least once a year. According to the charity Help The Aged, many falls are the direct result of poor eyesight. And because older people have more brittle bones, these falls can lead to long hospital stays and even premature death.

This needless suffering could be avoided if more older people took advantage of the free eye examinations available under the NHS.

All people over the age of 60 and many others are entitled to free eye examinations under the NHS.

Did you know ?

1 in 5 schoolchildren has an undetected eye problem. 80% of a child’s learning occurs visually. So if children have poor vision, they’ll find it difficult to learn at school and reach their full potential. Nor will they enjoy everyday childhood activities as much as they could.

Without early treatment, vision defects such as 'lazy eye' can become permanent disabilities.

Regular eye examinations could be crucial for your child’s healthcare and personal development.

The NHS offers free eye examinations to all children under 16 and full time students under 19. And if your child needs glasses, you’ll receive a voucher towards the cost (we have many different children’s spectacles that are free of charge with an NHS voucher).

Who is entitled to a free eye examination on the NHS ?

  • Under 16 (and under 19 in full time education)
  • Over 60’s
  • People or their partners who are claiming Income Support/Income related Employment and Support Allowance/Income based Job Seekers Allowance/Pension Credit/Tax CreditPeople or their partners who hold an HC2W Exemption Certificate
  • People registered sight impaired/severely sight impaired
  • People who suffer with diabetes/glaucoma
  • People considered at risk of glaucoma by an ophthalmologist
  • People who require complex lenses under the NHS guidelines
  • People who are over 40 and have a brother/sister/child or parent with glaucoma
  • Prisoners on leave from prison

NHS Vouchers

If you are entitled to an NHS voucher then you can either use this to choose free spectacles or you can put this voucher towards the cost of more expensive spectacles and pay the difference.

Who is entitled to an NHS Voucher ?

  • Under 16 (or under 19 in full time education)
  • People or their partners who claim Income Support/Income related Employment & Support Allowance/Income based job seekers allowance/Pension Credit/Tax Credit
  • People or their partners holding a HC2W Exemption certificate
  • People who require complex lenses under NHS guidelines