Making sure people have access to eye care

Our research indicates that millions of people across the UK are struggling with poor vision due to the cost of living crisis.

We’re deeply concerned that people are being forced to neglect their eye health, forgoing an essential health check, and the impact that this could have on the nations eye health now, as well as in the future.

How can optometry help

We can raise awareness of the help already available:

  1. For those who use screens as part of their work, employers should provide funded eye care including a sight test and a contribution to the cost of spectacles or contact lenses.
  2. Children, those 18 or under in full-time education and those who qualify for means tested benefits are eligible for an NHS funded sight test and optical voucher. There is an eligibility checker available on the NHS website.

What do we want from the Government?

Part of the solution is ensuring that those who are eligible for the NHS voucher get the extra help they need.

We’ve seen an erosion of the NHS voucher value due to rising costs. We’re now at a critical point, where failure to increase the contribution will be a real-terms cut against inflation and the cost-of-living squeeze.

Our ask is simple; increase the NHS voucher by 12.5%. That’s just £5 per person in most cases. 

The government must act now and increase the voucher value in England, to help those struggling the most, and avoid an eye health crisis later.

What the public are saying

“Although my sight is very important, so is feeding my children”

“At the moment I have a pair of reading glasses from the pound shop, because I don't have any spare money to get an eye test and new glasses. I know that they are not correct for my vision, and I have to strain my eyes to read properly”

“[I have] eye strain and headaches, and need new glasses but don’t have the money”

“[I have] been struggling to focus for a few months but can’t afford new specs”

“[I] Can’t afford to go for a test or get up to date prescription so am living with an out of date prescription which I fear will damage my eyes long term”

What we are doing