Frequency of eye tests

For adults it is usually recommended that you have a routine eye examination every 2 years, however contact lens wearers and anyone with vision or health problems are advised to have more regular check-ups.

  • If you pay for your sight test you can have your eyes looked at as often as you like.
  • However if you are eligible and expect the NHS to pay for your test then your optometrist has to follow certain guidelines.

If you are not sure whether or not you are eligible for a Free sight test, just ask. Our receptionists are used to answering this question and will happily advise you.

In general the NHS will pay for 2-yearly sight-tests, although it does acknowledge that certain categories of people may need more frequent eye examinations.

  • Children under 16 are recommended to have annual sight tests, but


    • under 7's who wear glasses or have a binocular vision may be seen every 6 months
    • children over 7 who have a binocular vision problem or rapidly progressing short-sightness may be seen every 6 months
  • Adults with diabetes or glaucoma are recommended to have annual sight-tests in addition to other health or hospital check-ups
  • Adults over 40 with a close family history of glaucoma are advised to have annual eye examinations
  • Adults over 70 are advised to have annual eye examinations.

The cost of a contact lens examination can not be claimed back from the NHS.


If you are eligible for an NHS eye test then you may need to be seen more frequently, the NHS does make allowance for this if there is a clinical need i.e. if your optometrist thinks your vision is likely to need monitoring, or you are concerned that your vision has deteriorated.

Your optometrist can not claim a sight-test fee from the NHS just because you want new specs, even if you need new specs because your old ones are broken or lost.






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