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NHS Kingston



The NHS contracts 20 opticians in the borough to provide NHS services.

Thirty opticians are available to undertake a home visit but only if you are not able to travel to an opticians, unaccompanied and on medical grounds.

How do I find an optician?

Click on the left hand link for a full list of local practices, or use the service finder on the home page.

What do opticians do?

Optician is a general term that covers both optometrists and dispensing opticians.

Optometrists carry out sight tests to check the quality of your vision and eye health. They look for signs of eye disease which may need treatment from a doctor or eye surgeon. They also prescribe and fit glasses and contact lenses.

Dispensing opticians fit glasses and contact lenses, but do not test eyes. They can give you advice on types of lens, such as single-vision or bifocal, and help you to choose frames.

When you visit an optician you may have your sight tested by an optometrist or an ophthalmic medical practitioner. They are trained to recognise abnormalities and diseases in the eye, such as cataract and glaucoma.

After the sight test the optician must legally give you your spectacle prescription (whether new or unchanged) or a statement saying that you did not need a prescription.  This statement will also say if you are being referred to your GP or ophthalmic hospital.

How often should I visit an optician?

It is recommended that you visit an optometrist every two years (or more frequently if advised).  This is important because an eye examination can detect potentially blinding eye conditions. 

It is easy to neglect the eyes because they rarely hurt when there is a problem. But once eyesight is lost, it may never be restored.

Do I need to pay?

If you do not fall within one of the eligible groups who are entitled to a free NHS sight test you will need to pay privately for your sight test. The cost of private sight tests vary from practice to practice.

You are entitled to a free NHS sight test if you are:

  • under 16, or under 19 and in full-time education, 
  • aged 60 or over, 
  • registered blind or partially sighted, 
  • diagnosed as having diabetes or glaucoma, 
  • aged 40 or over with a first-degree relative with glaucoma, or you have been advised by an ophthalmologist that you are at risk of glaucoma, or 
  • prescribed a complex lens. 

 You are also entitled to a free NHS sight test if you:

  • receive Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (not contribution based), 
  • receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, 
  • are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate, or 
  • are named on a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2).

Home visits

If you are eligible for a NHS funded sight test you may be able to obtain a mobile home visit if you:

  • are unable to leave home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability,
  • live in a residential or care home and are unable to leave the home, unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability,
  • at a day centre, if you would have difficulty in obtaining sight testing services from practice premises because of physical or mental illness or disability or because of difficulties in communicating your health needs unaided.


Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group, 2nd floor, Thames House,
180 High Street, Teddington, TW11 8HU
Tel: 020 39419900

NHS 111 NHS Choices