We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Related links

Related websites


For further information please contact:

NHSgeneralophthalmicservicesmailbox@gov.scot or 0131 244 2895

NHS eye examinations

  • Checks the health of the eyes
  • Finds any eye problems before they become more serious
  • Looks for signs of other health problems.

This more comprehensive eye examination increases the potential to detect sight-threatening diseases and helps identify conditions that may previously have gone undetected.

Information regarding NHS eye examinations in Scotland:


In Scotland NHS eye examinations are free to ordinary UK residents.

Non-UK residents, including UK nationals living abroad, may be entitled to a free NHS eye examination. More information about charges for overseas visitors can be found at related links.


If you are aged between 16 and 59 you can have a free NHS eye examination once every two years if required.

You can have a free NHS eye examination once a year, if required, if you:

  • Are under 16
  • Are 60 or over
  • Have ocular hypertension or diabetes
  • Have glaucoma
  • Are 40 or over and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has glaucoma

If you have problems with your eyes before your next NHS eye examination is due you will still be able to get this.  Your guide to free NHS eye examinations in Scotland provides more information.


There are a number of tests and procedures which are not included in the free NHS eye examination. The excluded tests and procedures are:

  • Occupational tests or reports for:

       - VDU glasses

       - Safety glasses

  • Admission, for example, to the Armed forces, Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service, Railway
  • DVLA acuity and visual field checks
  • Contact lens specific tests
  • Tests for those with reading difficulties, for example coloured overlays and rate of reading
  • Behavioural optometry

If you receive one of these tests or procedures you will have to pay a private charge, unless you have an occupational test voucher from your employer, which is set by the optometrist.