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How Are Eye Tests Funded in Scotland?


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The Scottish government has its own rules about eye tests and their funding that are different to those applied in England. Essentially if you are a UK resident (meaning either a citizen or someone who lives legally in the country) living in Scotland you are eligible for an NHS funded eye exam. This eye test is designed to test your eyesight as well as the health of your eyes to make sure there are no problems or developing issues you yourself may not have noticed.

Can I get a free eye test when visiting Scotland?

The rules for free eye testing are only really clear for people living in Scotland. Foreign nationals visiting Scotland are definitely not eligible for NHS funded eye exams, but UK residents who are either visiting Scotland or also living abroad are a trickier category. Most of the time it is up to the optician and how they run their practice as to whether you will receive a free NHS eye test in this instance.

Who provides NHS eye tests?

Any high street optician can provide you with a free eye exam. An optician (also known as an optometrist in the UK) is a qualified and registered health professional whose role is to both assess your eyes and provide you with any corrective lenses you may need. You can arrange an appointment with an optician on your own without needing to go through your GP. An NHS eye test is, as mentioned above, both a check of your vision and the health of your eyes, and regular visits to the optician are advised to maintain your health and catch any problems early.


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