Optician is a general term that covers both optometrists and dispensing opticians.
Optometrists carry out eye tests to check the quality of your sight. They look for signs of eye disease which may need treatment from a doctor or eye surgeon and prescribe and fit glasses and contact lenses.
Dispensing opticians fit glasses and contact lenses, but do not test eyes. They can give you advice on types of lens, such as single-vision or bifocal, and help you to choose frames.
How do I find an optician?
A full list of opticians is available on the NHS.UK website.
You are entitled to a free NHS sight test if you are:
- under 16, or under 19 and in full time education.
- aged 60 or over.
- registered blind or partially sighted.
- diagnosed as having diabetes or glaucoma.
- aged 40 or over with a first-degree relative with glaucoma, or you have been advised by an ophthalmologist that you are at risk of glaucoma, or prescribed a complex lens.
- receive Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (not contribution based).
- receive Pension Credit or Guarantee Credit.
- are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate.
- are named on a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2).
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. The cost of private sight tests varies, so it’s advisable to shop around.