Free Eye Tests
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Important. Do you qualify for a free eye test on the NHS?
Some people are always entitled to free eye tests, incl anyone under 16 (or up to 19 if in full time education), anyone over 60, those with certain medical conditions (eg, diabetes, glaucoma) and those claiming certain benefits (eg, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income support). For full information, see the NHS website.
What's more if you live in Scotland, eye tests have been free for everyone since 2006.
Get a FREE eye test if you work on a computer
Health & Safety rules can mean your employer's responsibleOngoing
If you work on a computer or laptop - sometimes technically known as a VDU (visual display unit) or DSE (display screen equipment) - for the majority of the day, you could be entitled to a free eye test from your employer.
The Health and Safety Executive has rules in place which mean that your employer may be obliged to offer you a free eye test if you ask for it. Each employer will have a different arrangement for this - some will let you book your own eye test and claim the money back on expenses, while others may prefer that all staff are seen by the same optician. It's best to speak to your employer and ask how it works for you.
Some employers will also pay for, or contribute towards, a pair of glasses if you need them to carry out your work. Again, it's best to ask your employer how this works for your company.
Remember to always keep your receipts as these may be needed, particularly if you need to claim the costs back yourself.
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What to look out for with prescriptions
By law you're entitled to your prescription after having an eye test and cannot be forced to buy glasses or contact lenses from the retailer the optician works for. However some opticians carry out extra assessments such as eye photos, for which they may charge, so always double check the total price in advance. Prescriptions have a 'lifespan' of two years.
Pay less for specs
If it turns out you do need a new or different prescription don't make a purchase straight away. First see our Cheap Glasses deals and Cheap Contact Lenses guide to make sure you get the best deal possible.