Optician is a general term that covers both optometrists and dispensing opticians. Optometrists carry out sight tests to check the quality of your vision and eye health. They look for signs of eye disease such as glaucoma or cataracts that 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. After the sight test, the optician must legally give you your spectacle prescription (whether new or unchanged) or a statement saying that you did not need a prescription. This statement will also say if you are being referred to your GP or ophthalmic hospital.
You may qualify for help towards the cost of your glasses or lenses in the form of an NHS Optical voucher, or you may be entitled to a free NHS funded sight test, depending on your circumstances.
You may get help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses if you are:
You qualify for a free NHS funded sight test if you are:
If you have a low income, you may be able to get help with NHS costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS).