Am I entitled to an NHS optical voucher?

An NHS optical voucher provides help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses.

Who's eligible?

You may get help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses if you're:

  • aged under 16
  • aged 16, 17 or 18 and are in full-time education
  • eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your ophthalmic practitioner can advise you about your entitlement
  • a prisoner on leave from prison

You may also get an NHS optical voucher if you:

  • receive Income Support
  • receive income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (not contribution-based)
  • are awarded Universal Credit 
  • receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • receive income-based Employment and Support Allowance (not contribution-based)
  • are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • are named on a valid NHS Certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

If you're named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3), you may also get help towards the cost of your glasses.

If you're entitled to an NHS optical voucher, you can take it with your prescription to any supplier and use it towards the cost of your glasses or contact lenses.

Children under 16 and people who are registered blind or partially sighted can only have their glasses or contact lenses dispensed by or under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner, registered optometrist or registered dispensing optician.

Proving your entitlement to an NHS optical voucher

Your ophthalmic practitioner will ask you to show proof that you're entitled to an NHS optical voucher.

See the NHS leaflet Help with health costs (PDF, 104kb) for more information. This leaflet explains which documents you'll need to prove you're entitled to an NHS optical voucher.

What's the value of an NHS optical voucher?

Your optical voucher value will depend on the strength of your prescription. The more complex or stronger your prescription is, the higher the value of the voucher you'll be entitled to.

Your ophthalmic practitioner, or a member of their staff, can explain how much your NHS optical voucher is worth.

For more information about help with eye health costs, see eyecare entitlements.

Read the answers to more questions about NHS services and treatments.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 15/09/2016

Next review due: 15/09/2019