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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

wonkylegs Sun 20-Jan-13 23:52:15

There are plenty of things that are essential for people with long term medical problems that aren't available free on the NHS I'm afraid. A line has to be drawn somewhere. I still have to pay for prescriptions albeit I buy a pre pay cert to save costs despite the fact that they are essential to my everyday life and slow down the progression of a disease that would disable and eventually kill me.
Ideal world we wouldn't have to pay for these things but we live in a real world and the money has to come from somewhere.

Can you replace the lense in your current glasses therefore saving the cost of new frames or do they not offer that option? Going forward I would start putting 10quid aside each month in a glasses fund for your next pair

It's now called Simply Health apparently.

Sorry, I meant smallest frames blush

Would some opticians offer a credit scheme, so you could get the glasses and pay it up monthly, paying the same or less than what you are for your contacts so you can stop the contacts?

Link starts at £10.85 a month, which gives you £90 a year towards specs, plus money towards dentists and physio.

ouryve Sun 20-Jan-13 23:54:43

I've never woken up with my glasses lost on the floor, btw. I've almost slammed a cup down on them in the mddle of the night, but they're always where i left them, in the morning.

Maybe a bigger bedside table would be a better investment. Or else, just tidy up the one you've got so there's less on it and your glasses don't fall on the floor.

eggsy11 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:56:12

ouryve a bit a month is different to a lump sum.

i'm a student at uni, and have a ds. £100 is an incredible amount when you live off less than half that a week! I wasn't really talking about my individual circumstance so much, more the fact that people who have high prescriptions genuinely can't live without them. It's like denying someone medication they need to survive. Because I 100% couldn't leave the house without mine!

VicarInaTutu Sun 20-Jan-13 23:58:26

most opticians would let you pay bit by bit aswell.

i hope you spot my posts - i used to dispense some very complex prescriptions - anyone who knows their stuff will be able to help you get the best result for your budget. independents are best or if you go to a chain ask to see a dispensing optician for your dispense.
tell them what you can afford. that way no shocks and they can really help you find what you need.

good luck, your voucher will be knocked off the end price. you should get a voucher B, better than nothing though. im certain that at some places your lenses would be covered and you would only have the frame to pay for.

eggsy11 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:58:33

okay that was a bit dramatic!

ZooAnimals Sun 20-Jan-13 23:59:46

Look at the link coola posted or speak to specsavers or someone about paying in installments. You can pay for everything in installments, I'm sure somewhere must do glasses like this.

eggsy11 Mon 21-Jan-13 00:00:06

thanks vicar. I may go in search of a friendlier optician to help then! lovely mumsnet advice! smile

ouryve that's pretty rude.

eggsy - I've just been looking more into Simply Health - and they have an offer on at the moment for one month free and a £15 voucher so you would actually be paying out less to have glasses and dental than you pay just for lenses now - and it's a monthly payment.

Plus you can claim immediately - no need to wait once you have joined. The only thing is you claim AFTER you have paid for the glasses, but they do pay you the money back very quickly, so maybe it would be manageable done at the beginning of a month or something?

Beaverfeaver Mon 21-Jan-13 00:01:27

I just bought my frames off eBay and will send them to cilary blue for glazing which works out even cheaper than glasses direct!

OwlCatMouse Mon 21-Jan-13 00:01:39

What contact lenses do you use? I had that with my daily ones (blood vessels growing) but it stopped when I got my acuvue ones.

I don't even have any glasses that I can wear now - just wear my lenses all the time and have done for 20 years. Opticiansays my eyes haventchanged at all in over 10 years, so its fine.

QueenStromba Mon 21-Jan-13 00:01:51

The thing that annoys me about the NHS is that most common chronic conditions entitle you to free prescriptions but asthma doesn't. Why is it that I have to pay the ~£10 a month prescription prepayment charge when someone who has diabetes or an under-active thyroid doesn't?

KenAdams England Mon 21-Jan-13 00:02:15

I'm the same prescription as you and its not as you make out - you can still see your way to the bathroom! You don't HAVE to have thinner lenses either, there are plenty of frames that will hold standard lenses for that prescription, they just aren't very pretty.

mrswoz Mon 21-Jan-13 00:03:15

Like others have mentioned above I have had a free or discounted pair of glasses from specsavers for being on their lensmail scheme. I most recently paid extra for the thin lenses and I'm pretty sure the total was way less than £100. I'm -8.00 both eyes, luxurious new glasses which I don't wear all the time, but would happily do so now, they're lovely.

Have needed correction since age 7, dread to think how much it costs over a lifetime, so yanbu to feel annoyed that we have to pay so much towards it. Not sure the NHS should foot the bill either tho confused

eggsy11 Mon 21-Jan-13 00:03:35

that sounds great, thanks coola i have bookmarked simply health to look at tomorrow!

Catchingmockingbirds Mon 21-Jan-13 00:08:09

Yanbu, but unfortunately a lot of things aren't available on the nhs. My DS's OT equipment (therapy balls etc), and aids (cutlery for instance as he physically can't use normal cutlery) is a necessity but isn't funded by the nhs, I need to buy everything myself. DSD's standing frames and other necessary equipment has to be fundraised and bought as nhs won't fund it.

frogspoon Mon 21-Jan-13 00:10:41

Glasses Lens prescriptions should be priced in the same way as prescription medicines

Prescription medicines have a standard cost. It doesn't matter if your medicine cost the NHS 50p or £50, everyone pays a standard fee.

In the same way, basic lenses in basic frames should cost a standard fee, regardless of the complexity of the prescription. It would mean that the cost would go up for people with simple prescriptions, but would be fairer overall (in the same way that some prescription medicines are actually cheaper for the NHS to buy than the standard prescription fee, but others are much more expensive)

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Mon 21-Jan-13 00:11:03

cilary blue book marked, mr magoo dh needs some new bins

VicarInaTutu Mon 21-Jan-13 00:12:03

ken - its subjective. you may well see better without specs - it doesnt mean OP does. everyones visual acuity is different.

im a very small rx but i wouldnt drive without my specs - my visual acuity is much better with correction even though my correction is only slight.

OP - im not sure those health schemes are worth it - just put a bit away each month and you will afford your specs.

honestly - if you go to someone who knows what they are doing despense wise you could get something within your budget - be clear about what that is to start with. if you are anywhere near me i would help you. where are you?

i actually miss dispensing. i was rather good at it....taught by the best! it maybe that in the current circumstances i end up back there....

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Mon 21-Jan-13 00:16:44

Vicar and they would be lucky to have you

pippop1 Mon 21-Jan-13 00:17:43

If your frames are still OK how about asking the optician to put new lenses in the old frame? Alternatively can they re-coat your old lenses in the old frames so that they are wearable?

Then you can start saving for nicer frames in the future.

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