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Rules of entitlement

Simple checks have been introduced at the time a patient signs a form to declare that they are entitled to NHS optical services, with patients being asked to show evidence to support their claims. Undertaking these checks is now a Term of Service requirement for Opticians and a duty for Dispensing Opticians when accepting vouchers under NHS Optical Charges and Payment Regulations 1997.

Information on Claiming An NHS Sight Test

The NHS now requests that people claiming free sight tests or help towards the cost of spectacles to show documentation for their NHS claims at the Opticians Practice where possible.

We should stress, however, that regular sight tests are very important, and if for whatever reason proof of your claim cannot be produced, you should contact eye 2 eye and we will do our best to advise you on your best course of action.

Who is eligible for which NHS Optical Services and when?

Who is eligible for NHS Sight Tests?

Patients are eligible for free sight tests if they are -

or if they, or their partner, receive -

How often are you eligible for NHS Sight Tests?

The new regulations require practitioners to satisfy themselves that a Sight Test for those who qualify for FREE National Health Sight Tests is clinically necessary. The rules are not to be read as applying automatically to all patients in a category, however Opticians will not normally test patients under the new rules other than as specified in the following list. Qualifying Groups and periods between testing

Under 16 years of age 1 years between tests in cases where no visual problems exist.
Under 7 years of age 6 Months where a visual problem exists and correction is required.
7 years of age and over and under 16 with binocular vision anomaly or rapidly progressing myopia 6 Months
16 years and over and under 70 years of age 2 years
70 years of age and over 1 year
40 years of age and over with a family history of glaucoma or with family history of Ocular Hypertension, and not in a registered monitoring scheme 1 year
Diabetics not part of a diabetic monitoring scheme 1 years

An Opticians may carry out a test at shorter intervals than those listed above, either at the Opticians initiative for clinical reasons, or because the Patient presents themselves with symptoms or concerns which may be related to an Eye condition.

If an Opticians carries out a GOS Sight test at an interval shorter than those recommended above, the Optician must enter the following codes in the notes on the General Optical Service Form 1 (GOS 1)

code Notes to added to GOS Form 1
1. Patient at risk of frequent changes in prescription for reasons not requiring medical referral, or for reasons already known to a Medical practitioner (Doctor)
2. Patients with pathology likely to worsen, for example, ARMD, Cataracts, Corneal dystrophy, or congenital abnormalities.
3. Patients who present themselves with symptoms or concerns requiring further Ophthalmic investigation.
4. Patients who have been advised by a Medical Practitioner (Doctor) to seek a Sight Test.
5. Other unusual circumstances requiring Investigation.

If an Optician, in exceptional circumstances, considers a Sight Test to be necessary, the Optician will be required to justify the test on purely clinical Grounds.

Who is eligible for Help towards the cost of Spectacles?

Some categories of patients who are entitled to free NHS sight tests are also eligible for optical vouchers towards the cost of spectacle's or contact lenses. Patients are entitled to vouchers if they are -

or if they, or their partner, receive -

The NHS Low Income Scheme


How much is the voucher towards the cost of your spectacles worth?

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