Free eye tests are available to some groups of people in the UK, including children under the age of 16, those under the age of 19 and in full-time education, and people aged 60 and over.

For students under the age of 19 and in full-time education, the free eye test is available once every two years. This means that you can have your eyes tested for free every two years while you are studying. If you need more frequent eye examinations due to a specific condition or medical requirement, you may be eligible for more regular free eye tests.

To take advantage of the free eye test, you will need to find an optician that offers the service. Most opticians in the UK offer free eye tests, including high street opticians such as Boots, Vision Express, and Specsavers, as well as independent opticians. When you attend your free eye test appointment, the optician will carry out a range of tests to assess the health of your eyes and your vision. There is a Boots student discount which might be applicable if you have to pay for your eye test.

What happens during an eye test?

These tests may include a visual acuity test, which measures your ability to see letters or numbers at different distances, as well as a pressure test to check for glaucoma, a condition that can damage the optic nerve. The optician may also take images of the inside of your eye using a special camera, which can help to detect early signs of eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.

If the optician identifies any issues during your eye test, they may refer you to an ophthalmologist, a doctor who specializes in eye care, for further investigation or treatment. Depending on the severity of the condition, you may be referred for treatment on the NHS or through private healthcare.

It’s important to note that the free eye test does not cover the cost of glasses or contact lenses, although some people may be eligible for help with the cost of these through the NHS. If you need glasses or contact lenses following your eye test, the optician will give you a prescription which you can take to an optician or supplier to purchase your glasses or contact lenses.


In conclusion, free eye tests for students in the UK are an important service that can help to detect and treat eye problems early on, ensuring that students can continue to study and work with good vision. If you are a student under the age of 19 and in full-time education, you are eligible for a free eye test once every two years.

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You might want to check out our other student health-related questions such as Free student dental treatment, Do students get free prescriptions and What other benefits do students get?.