to think glasses should be free on the nhs?

(114 Posts)
eggsy11 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:35:51

My prescription is minus 7.5 in both eyes. That means that if my glasses have fallen off my bedside table I am in tears until DH manages to find them. I can barely feel my way to the bathroom without glasses or contacts. It is fair to say I literally couldn't function without them. I couldn't certainly couldn't cook or wash, let along leave the house.

My glasses are now five years old, and have no coating left on the outside, so they barely function, hence me wearing contacts 99% of the time, which i've been told is damaging my eyes. They cost about £12 a month, monthly disposables.

Recently found out that since we get tax credits, I receive a voucher towards glasses. I was so excited, I went to the optitians, picked out the cheapest frames I could find (£50, were the cheapest ones that would hold my lenses which are thick since they're so strong), HAD to pay an extra £50 to have the glass thinned down just one stage as the lenses wouldn't fit even in big thick black chunky frames. Add that to the cost of the lenses anyway, £150 for glasses. NHS voucher was £56, so still £100.

I had to cancel it as I can't afford £100 on myself. I think it's so unfair that i'm in a position where I physically can't see without glasses and yet they're not free? Lucky I can wear contacts! sad

I get mine from glasses direct - cheapest pair was £20.

eggsy11 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:41:16

oh really lauries? thanks , i'll have a look! hope they do my big lenses size!

Hmmm - I kind of agree - but then if you can afford £12 a month for lenses you can afford glasses as you are spending £120 a year on them....

Unless you change your frames every year then they are a cheaper option than your lenses and they won't damage your eyes.

I have crappy eyesight too, and astigmatism which means that my lenses are over £20 a month, and glasses cost at least £150 and yes it would be nice if they were free, and they are for children and people on certain benefits. If they were free to everyone though costs would go up elsewhere, so they still wouldn't be "free".

So, you have spent £720 on contact lenses over the past 5 years, but you can't afford £100 for glasses. I do agree that the most basic pair of glasses should be free on the NHS, but I think your budget may need some tweaking.

That aside, have a look at glasses direct - cheaper than high st opticians.

Cancel your contact lens supply for a while.
Or do you get half price glasses if you have lenses by post?

TBH you can't wear contacts all the time, even the new extended wear ones. And if they are damaging your eyes I'm shock that your optician is letting you carry on wearing them.

I can't suggest what you can do WRT the glasses. Would they let you pay them up over a term of weeks/months if you have the £12 to pay?

My maths is appalling at this time of night! £12 a month for 12 months is £144 a year NOT £120 blush.

PrettyKitty1986 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:43:05

I know exactly how you feel. My prescription is - 10.75 in both eyes. I don't think people realise what a high prescription is like sometimes and how much it affects you in everyday life. I couldn't function at all with no glasses/contacts, I just as well close my eyes completely. I too have to pay a fortune to get the glass thinned because no frame will support glass as thick as I need it otherwise. I do think NHS vouchers etc need reviewing for higher prescriptions as the basic amount doesn't touch the sides in the glasses needed for high prescriptions

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:43:56

dont go to the internet with a high RX. asking for trouble....

if you cant afford much try specsavers - go for plastic frames so you can get away with lenses that are not thinned - or go for a very small roundish shape frame - minus lenses are thicker at the edge so avoid square or oblong frames.

it can be done cheaper than what you paid but avoid internet like the plague with your high rx - you need to be seen to get pupil measurements etc correct.

if you havent used the voucher you should be able to get another if you cancelled order in good time.

pinkstinks Sun 20-Jan-13 23:44:48

I feel your pain, I am a minus 7.5 and minus 8, I have to pay extra to have glasses thinned as they will not hold the heavy frame otherwise. I do get a free pair every year or so though with my lens plan from specsavers, I have to pay more depending on the frame I pick but it does help towards the cost. As I literally cannot see anything without them they are a necessity.

eggsy11 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:44:56

Yes but £12 a month is different to £100 in one go when you have no money! if i saved up it would mean not being able to see for a year! Because my glasses aren't useable really. other than shuffling to brush my teeth in the am.

the optician said the blood vessels in my eyes are creeping in (i think that's what she said) as my eyes aren't getting enough oxygen sad there is no way i could spend £100 though!!

Could you put your glasses in a case so when they fall off you can find them more quickly?

EduCated Sun 20-Jan-13 23:46:16

Problem is, it's not like the OP can cancel the contact lenses whilst she saves up for the glasses.

It is shit, wearing glasses is hardly a choice, particularly with a prescription as strong as yours.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:46:20

you dont want a big lens size! that would increas the thickness!

DO NOT use the interenet for your RX! you can get cheap decent specs - you just need the right dispenser and tell them what your budget is!

i used to work in eyes - 10 years. please dont use internet - asking for trouble with your prescription!!

shop around. you can get some glasses - you need to work out what you can afford and tell the dispenser.

PrettyKitty1986 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:46:38

It's not the glasses that cost, it's the glass. I had to pay 120 quid just to get new glass put in my existing frames, buying from glasses direct does't help with that.

ZooAnimals Sun 20-Jan-13 23:46:48

In theory, yes they should. There just isn't the money for it. They're free for people on a low income and children etc. Thay have given you a voucher towards it and by their calculations you can afford it (are they wrong if you can afford the contact lenses?). Are you sure there isn't anywhere else you can scrimp so that you can afford the glasses?

I would check some other places. I know DH got a pair of glasses free when we were on tax credits, I think he just went to specsavers or something.

I used to over-wear my contacts, I know how it is, but you really don't want to mess with your eyes! You are basically carving rings into your eyeballs (my eye doctor showed this to me) it will get to the point where you physically cannot wear contacts any more and may have really damaged eyesight. Then you will be kicking yourself for not sorting it.

Just got mine from asda. I'm -5.5 and -4.75 and they thinned the lenses for free as my prescription warranted it shock never had that before!

Startail Sun 20-Jan-13 23:48:43

YANBU that if your entitled to a voucher towards the cost of glasses that voucher should cover the cheapest your opticians can do.

I'm not as short sighted as you, but -5 is enough to make doing most things impossible without my glasses.

I also have long suffering DDs and DH trained to find lost gkasses.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:49:33

if you are getting increased vessels it means you are overwearing your lenses.

you need some specs and give your eyes a rest from lenses - then dont over wear them.

i promise you - you can get some specs that will look ok. its the shape of the lens that matters for a minus RX - i once dispenses a -11 rx that looked so fantastic it was shown to the entire shop - they were standard lenses - not thinned down - its the shape that matters and the size of the frame.

go to someone who knows what they are doing and give them a budget!

timidviper Sun 20-Jan-13 23:49:58

The opticians have enormous markups on stuff so although in one way YANBU I don't think the NHS should have to pay that much into profits of private companies.

DD's friend works for a national chain of opticians and we were shocked to see the low price she can get stuff at compared to the cost to the public.

I bought some designer glasses on a BOGOF but the free pair still cost me a fortune because of the lenses, I found I only wore the one pair so never wore the second lot, DD decided she would like them and her friend got new lenses made and fitted in them for £30 which was a fraction of what I paid.

I have terrible eyesight, too, and cannot function without my glasses on any level - I'd be as well having my eyes closed as not wearing specs. I think if my eyes were suffering through contact lens use, I'd find a way somehow to get the £100 together for new glasses.

I actually stopped my contact lenses a couple of years ago as I could no longer justify the £25 a month (astigmatism and long sighted). My glasses are about £150 every 2 years.

Have you thought about something like HSA? My mum has a really high Rx and she uses HSA to pay for it. She pays so much a month and gets her glasses and dental work paid for. She gets new specs every year paid for by them.

I know she gets back more than she ever pays in, so might be worth a look.

ouryve Sun 20-Jan-13 23:51:17

£12 a month for lenses? At specsavers, that would be higher end frames with extra thin lenses plus a second pair, every other year. So one pair a year.

So what's your actual problem?

Oh yes, definitely get the smallest lenses you can manage! That will help a lot.

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