Opticians and sight tests

Each NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB) is responsible for improving services within their geographical area and have delegated responsibility of NHS England pharmaceutical, ophthalmic and dental (POD) services.

Optometrists examine the eyes to detect defects in vision, signs of injury, ocular diseases or abnormality and eye problems can indicate issues with general health, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Sight tests

Adults are recommended to have an eye test at least every two years and children should visit an optometrist annually.

An eye test involves a series of checks to assess your vision and the overall health of your eyes and if necessary, a prescription for visual correction (glasses or contact lenses) will be issued along with advice on how to keep your eyes healthy.  Other tests can also be carried out during an eye exam to check eye pressure, the retina at the back of the eye and optic nerve and its blood vessels.

Eyes can be affected by several conditions such as Glaucoma, Diabetes and vascular conditions which may be picked up early through an eye test.

Find an NHS sight test closest to where you live

Who can get an NHS sight test?

Some people will be entitled to free NHS funded eye tests this includes:

  • anyone under 16
  • aged 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education (being taught full-time at a school, college, university or at home
  • 60 years or over
  • registered as partially sighted or blind.

More details on eligibility can be found at:

Free NHS eye tests and optical vouchers

How often can I have a free NHS eye test