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Do you shop around for eye tests?

Posted 10 February 2016

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Do you shop around to make sure you get the best deals on your eye tests? If not, our guide is just for you.

We bet you shop around for your car insurance, your credit cards and even your bank account to make sure you get the best deals. But have you ever thought of shopping around to get the best deals on your eye tests? If you have, job well done! If not, maybe now is the time to try. So, today’s blog is about getting yourself a great deal on an eye test, and tomorrow’s blog will be about getting the best deals on eye tests.

Read on, you could save yourself a packet – enough to bag yourself some super specs at the same time.

Getting your eyes tested

Getting your eyes tested is something we should all do, on a regular basis. Why? Because it’s important to make sure your eyes are healthy for a number of reasons. The first being that it’s a way to find out if you need glasses to help you see. Of course, you may already be aware of this, if you’re squinting to see things.

But finding out if you need glasses is not the only reason you’d want to have an eye test. In fact, eye tests can pick up a number of different medical problems, with your eyes and beyond too. For example an eye test can detect eye problems such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, as well as other illnesses, such as diabetes and brain tumours.

Do you use Display Screen Equipment (DSE)?

So, we’ve established that regular eye tests are a good idea for everyone. But if you work in a job that means you have to look at a computer screen, or Display Screen Equipment (DSE), for long periods of time, it’s imperative that you keep your eyes healthy. And your employers have an obligation to help keep you safe at work too, including your eyes.  So, they are obliged to provide you with regular eye tests, and by regular they mean a test about every two years.

However, you should always follow your optician’s advice on how frequently you should have an eye test. If they think you should have you eyes tested every six months, then that’s what should happen.

You also have the right, if you feel that you’re having issues with your eyes from your use of the DSE, to request an eye test at any time.

However, this does not mean you can claim 10 eye tests a year. Your company has the right to refuse your request if they believe it to be frivolous or unnecessary. You also don’t have the right to choose which opticians you want to visit either. There’s more information on what your employer is obliged to provide when you work with DSEs here.  

find my solution

The other way you can get free eye tests is to use the vouchers often seen in local newspapers. You’ll also probably find that once you’ve visited an opticians, they’ll send you a voucher for a free test when it’s getting near to the time you’ll need it, because they want your business. They assume that if you visit them for a free eye test, you’re more likely to buy your glasses from them too.

NHS eye tests

Certain conditions will make you eligible for an eye test free of charge on the NHS. The conditions are to do with:

·         age:

o   being under 16

o   being between 16-18, but in full time education

o   aged 60 or over

·         health:

o   if you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma or diabetes or you’re over 40 and family members have been diagnosed with glaucoma

o   you’re registered as partially sighted or blind

·         family/life circumstances:

o   you claim on certain benefits, such as income support, jobseekers allowance or universal credit

o   you’re a prisoner on leave

o   you have a valid NHS certificate for full help with costs

However, this is not the full list, you can find that on the NHS website page – Am I entitled to a free NHS eye test?

Free tests and cheap vouchers

If you don’t qualify for a free NHS eye test, and you don’t work in a job that requires you to be looking at a screen all day, here are some places where you can get eye tests for free. 

Tesco offer free eye tests pretty much all the time, you just need to sign up to the website or call them up to make an appointment. 

You can find free cut out eye test vouchers in lots of local papers.

And if you type ‘free eye test vouchers’ into Google, you’ll be presented with a list of places where there are free time-limited eye tests, like this one – Free Specsavers Eye Tests   

And if you’re in a position where you have to pay for your eye test, here are some of the cheapest offers around:

·         Boots are currently offering an eye test for £10 that expires in July 2016.

·         Vision Express are offering half price eye tests and a 10% discount on prescription glasses. Their eye tests range between £15-£28

If you need to pay full price, maybe you need to have an eye test done urgently, then the best place to find the most up to date prices for your eye test is on the website of the provider. The average cost of an eye test in the UK, bar Scotland, is £21.31. But to find the price a specific provider, just Google the company’s name and away you go.

Watch out for ‘extras’

If you use one of the free or reduced price offers, make sure you check what’s included before the optician starts the test. This is because some opticians will include different tests, which you may have to pay for, in with the normal free part of the test. So, you may end up with a bill that you weren’t expecting at the end of the test.  

You’re entitled to your prescription

It’s also worth remembering that you are entitled to take your prescription away with you. The optician cannot insist that you buy a pair of glasses or lenses from them, and they cannot refuse to give you the prescription either. You can then take that away and purchase your glasses from whatever provider you like. So, if you’re not offered it, ask for it, even if you think you’re going to buy your glasses from that opticians, it’s always useful to have a copy of the prescription for your own records. The prescription will expire after two years and you’ll then need another. 

Okay that’s it for today. Come back on Friday and we’ll show you how to find the best deals for your glasses. 

by Shelley Bowers

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