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How often can I have a free NHS sight test?

It's recommended that most people should get their eyes tested every 2 years.

If you're eligible for a free NHS sight or eye test, the NHS pays for it and you will not be charged. 

Read more about free NHS sight tests

Your ophthalmic practitioner or optometrist may recommend you have an NHS sight test more often than every 2 years if you:

  • are a child wearing glasses
  • have diabetes
  • are aged 40 or over and have a family history of glaucoma
  • are aged 70 or over

Can I ask for a sight test more frequently?

If you're concerned about your sight before your next NHS sight test is due, you should visit your ophthalmic practitioner or optometrist.

They'll be able to carry out an NHS sight test earlier than planned if it's considered clinically necessary.

If you want a sight test more often than your ophthalmic practitioner or optometrist considers clinically necessary, you'll have to pay for a private test.

Private sight tests

If you're not eligible for a free NHS sight test, you'll have to pay for a private test.

Charges for private sight tests vary, so it's advisable to shop around.

What if I pay for a private sight test?

If you pay for a private sight test, you won't be eligible for a free NHS sight test until your next sight test is due.

This will usually be 2 years later, but could be sooner in some cases. The person testing your sight can advise you. 

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

Further information: 

Page last reviewed: 14 November 2019
Next review due: 14 November 2022