NHS entitlement and frequency

Many people are entitled to an NHS eye examination which is provided at no charge:


How often?

All children under 16
yearly or more frequently in certain cases
Under 19 years old in full-time education
every 2 years
Aged over 60
every 2 years (yearly if aged over 70)
Over 40 with family history of glaucoma
Registered Blind or Partially Sighted
Prescribed Complex lenses
depends on age
Prisoners on leave from prison
depends on age


You are also entitled to an NHS examination if you or your partner receive certain benefits or tax credits:

  • Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (not contribution based)
  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Entitled to or named on a valid NHS Tax Credit exemption Certificate
  • Named on a NHS HC2 Certificate for full help with health costs


It will help to bring with you evidence of entitlement to the above benefits and also your NHS or NI number. Opticians are obliged to ask to see your proof of entitlement.