Optometrists and dispensing opticians now eligible for Blue Light Card

The card offers discounts at more than 13,000 retailers and is available to those working in the NHS, the emergency services, and the wider Blue Light community

Typical generic British High Street with blurred and unrecognisable details

Optometrists and dispensing opticians will be eligible for a Blue Light Card, unlocking discounts at thousands of retailers, from Monday 29 January.

The card, which is available to NHS and emergency services staff, as well as the social care sector, the armed forces and a number of wider professions within the Blue Light community, can be used to access discounts at more than 13,000 brands.

High Street retailers included on the Blue Light Card include New Look, The Body Shop, JD Sports, Go Outdoors and Halfords.

Other businesses offering discounts include Sky, Spotify, Greene King, Jet2holidays, and Cineworld.

The card also offers a ballot-based ticketing system, which allows members to access free tickets for events including cinema premieres, food festivals, football matches and concerts.

The move has been welcomed by the profession. Carolyn Ruston, AOP policy director, said: “The announcement from Blue Light Card that optometrists and dispensing opticians can access the scheme follows constructive conversations with the AOP on behalf of its members, who had voiced their frustrations about not having access to the scheme for healthcare workers.”

Optometrist and AOP Councillor, Josie Evans, told OT: “It is nice to be recognised as one of the eligible professions and appreciated as part of the NHS team.”

Fellow AOP Councillor and optometrist, Karan Vyas, agreed that it is “very good news that the optical sector is [being] recognised on parity with other healthcare professions.”

Ryan Leighton, CEO of Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care, said: “Anything that is going to support optometrists and dispensing opticians to gain access to discounts and advantages in any area, I think, is a brilliant thing.”

He added: “I hope they can get audiologists on there as well.”

To get a Blue Light Card, optometrists and dispensing opticians should register online by uploading their General Optical Council registration number, alongside a form of personal identification that matches, such as a passport or driving licence. 
Other forms of personal identification that will be accepted include birth certificates, European Economic Area member state identity cards, UK residence permits, and national identity cards.

The cards cost £4.99 and last for two years. All live offers can be viewed via the Blue Light Card app.
Practice owners are being encouraged to ensure their staff know that they are now entitled to register for a Blue Light Card.

Ceri Smith-Jaynes, optometrist and OT clinical multimedia editor, said: “I’m delighted that optometrists and dispensing opticians can now benefit from the savings offered by Blue Light Card.

“As primary care clinicians who look after patient’s eye care in the community, it is only right that we are recognised alongside other healthcare providers in the NHS. It is great news that eye care professionals, whether working in community practice or hospital, will be able to make cost savings, particularly when many of us are feeling the cost-of-living squeeze.”

Blue Light Card’s chief operating officer, Andy Collins, said: “We’re really pleased to be broadening our eligibility into this new category, which will allow even more people to benefit from the incredible discounts available from our many retail partners.”