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Do students get free eye tests?
Medically reviewed by Sharon Copeland on 4 May 2021
If you are a student aged 16, 17 or 18 in full-time education, then you are entitled to a free NHS eye test. You are also eligible for free NHS eye tests if you are under 16.
Free eye tests for students
If you fail to meet the criteria for a free student eye test, there are some companies which offer free eye tests for everybody, so it's worth shopping around. You can often find free eye test vouchers or student eye test discount vouchers in newspapers and magazines or on websites such as Save the Student and UniDays.
Many opticians may try to sell you a pair of glasses when you go for your free eye test, but that doesn't mean that you are obligated to purchase. At Feel Good Contacts, we offer the best guaranteed prices on all our glasses.
Do students pay for eye tests?
Not all students are eligible for a free NHS eye test. If you are a student but are not between the ages of 16-18 and in full-time education, you may be required to pay for your eye test.
Students Eye Test Cost
The cost of an eye test for those who have to pay, (including students who do not meet the criteria for a free NHS eye test) varies depending on which eye care provider you choose. Typically, the cost of an eye test ranges between £19-£25.
Free Eye Test UK
UK residents qualify for a free NHS eye test if they meet a specific criteria.
Who is entitled to a free eye test?
You'll find that many people are entitled to a free eye test, and there are different ways in which you can get a free eye test, including NHS funded eye tests.
NHS eye test
You are eligible for an NHS eye test or NHS optical vouchers if you:
- Are 60 years old or above
- Are diabetic or have glaucoma
- Your ophthalmologist has advised you that you're at risk of developing glaucoma
- Are 40 years or older and have a parent, child or sibling with glaucoma
- Visually impaired, either blind or partially sighted
- Are in prison or a prisoner on leave
- Are entitled to an NHS complex lens voucher
You are also eligible for a free eye test if you or your partner receive the following or are under the age of 20 and are the dependent of someone receiving the following:
- Income Support
- Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- Jobseeker's Allowance
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Universal Credit
If you're entitled to or have:
- A valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
- A valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs
- People named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs
Are eye tests free in Scotland?
You can get a free eye NHS eye test in Scotland by an optometrist who offers NHS services, provided that you're a UK citizen.
How often can I have a free eye test?
A student between the age of 16-18 can get a free eye test every two years. You can get a sight test sooner than two years if your ophthalmologist or optometrist has deemed this clinically necessary.
How often should you get your eyes tested?
It is recommended that you get a comprehensive eye exam every two years. However, this also depends on your age, medical history, risk factors, and whether or not you wear glasses or contact lenses.
Getting an eye test is essential if you're a student and have trouble reading lecture slides, the board in class, or your study books.
What can an eye test detect?
An eye test can detect diabetes or glaucoma in the early stages and prevent future problems. They are essential to keeping your eye health in check and can also spot many other underlying health issues.
Do students get glasses free?
Again, if you are between the ages of 16-18 and are in full-time education, then you are eligible to a free NHS optical voucher to use towards the cost of a pair of glasses.
You are also entitled to an NHS optical voucher if you:
- Are under 16
- Are a prisoner or on leave from prison
- Are eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher
- Complex lens vouchers are offered by the NHS for those who have lenses of -10/+10 dioptres or more, or prism-controlled bifocal lenses. These vouchers offer £14.60 towards single vision lenses and £37.40 towards bifocal lenses.
- Students over 18 can also get an HC1 form used to assess their income and based on this, may be entitled to a free sight test and even help towards the cost of glasses. You can get an HC1 form from an opticians or pharmacy.
Being a student means being on a tight budget, so take advantage of discounts/free services such as free eye tests where possible.