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

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Mon 21-Jan-13 00:21:34

i know that asda were including high index lenses in their bogoff thing last year.

ceeveebee Mon 21-Jan-13 00:23:56

I have similar prescription to you and the ultrathin lenses are very necessary. I joined boots contact lens scheme and then got 50% off all frames and glasses. Then cancel the lens scheme!

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 21-Jan-13 00:24:23

aw thanks loves
unfortunately my speccy career ended when i joined a rather pants branch of specsavers....wish id just stayed with the indie i was at before. 10 years of experience down the drain.

then i got into police which is more pants.

OP my offer of help is genuine if you are anywhere near to me. Im in yorkshire.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Mon 21-Jan-13 00:28:51

Op she means it, she doesn't offer to everyone!

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Mon 21-Jan-13 00:29:40

Would you like to get out of the police go back?

juneybean Mon 21-Jan-13 00:30:48

Are you with specsavers? As I pay a monthly subscription for my contact lenses I get my glasses at NHS prices.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 21-Jan-13 00:40:26

Dunno loves right now I'm off work. Trying to put that decision off for a bit longer. Anyway best get to bed. Let me know if I can help op.

ddubsgirl Mon 21-Jan-13 00:42:47

Look around for different prices specsavers are pretty good also if you have pinching of the vessels in the eyes pls pls get checked for diabetes! Mine wasn't picked up on and now I have to go back to the hospital for treatment as I have eye damage sad

sashh Mon 21-Jan-13 03:32:53

Can I recommend this practice?

www.taylorbiddleopticians.co.uk/

I don't use them anymore because they sold their town centre shop and I moved away.

BUT when I did they had a policy that if you had an NHS voucher you couldn't afford to pay more so they would do the extras for free or very reduced so frames for £10.

DizzyZebra Mon 21-Jan-13 04:56:37

I thin in cases where it has a profound effect on the persons life as in your case, yes it should be free.

My daughter is deaf.and her eqipment is funded by the nhs and always will be.

DizzyZebra Mon 21-Jan-13 05:02:34

Or at the very least done on a prescription like medicines.

Iamaslummymummy Mon 21-Jan-13 06:25:26

I have -15 lenses with high astigmatism. I get 1.9 glass thinned lenses from asda. 2 pairs for 90 pounds minus my complex lens voucher. So yours would be 90 % minus your voucher

Pigsmummy Mon 21-Jan-13 06:33:11

I get my lenses online in bulk. 90 lenses, free delivery. I use the sleep in ones currently as having new baby and not being able to see isn't great. My glasses are plastic as lenses are thick. When replacing will buy online. Have you considered laser surgery? Interest free repayments over a few years.

Don't get me started on the randomness of prescriptions Queen, though as an aside did you know you can now buy blue releivers 2 for £7 from Asda? It is saving me quite a bit to be honest, just need to get my preventor on prescription now.

OP, whilst I do see what you are saying, I have very poor eyesight and an astygmatism so glasses cost a fortune. With my contact lens scheme I get 1 pair of free glasses every 2 years I think. My scheme costs a couple of quid a month more than yours but might be worth looking into. I view it as a saving scheme now for new glasses. www.specsavers.co.uk/offers/free-glasses-with-contact-lenses/

If I remember rightly (at this time in the morning!) they also thinned the lens for free and put a protective coating on them too.

Fairylea Mon 21-Jan-13 06:46:15

Internet specs are fine if you have low prescriptions but if you have a high index or astigmatism then you need your eyes properly measured so the pupil sits in the right place... and this isn't the same as the pupil measurement on your prescription. Ordering glasses online that aren't absolutely right can lead to eye strain which can actually make things worse.

I sympathise. I am -9.5 in both eyes and I have to be aware of retina tearing now. My mum is -12.5. Both blind as bats.

Fairylea Mon 21-Jan-13 06:48:01

Oh sorry meant to say definitely go with specsavers for contacts. Then you get free glasses (basic prescription lenses).. with the voucher as well and difficult lenses I only then had to pay an extra £30.

HKat Mon 21-Jan-13 06:50:56

Haven't read whole thread so apologies if someone has already said this, but with your prescription I don't think you even can get your glasses off the internet. I'm -7/-8 and Glasses Direct wouldn't accept me - think they said anything over -7 couldn't be online. I looked at a couple of other sites and found the same. Op I feel your pain!!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 21-Jan-13 06:55:27

There's a £25 range at specsavers that includes the standard lens so with your voucher you might get the thinning covered too (although agree with Vicar that thinking requirements depend in the frame) eg:

m.specsavers.co.uk/glasses/womens-glasses/vivienne/

Trazzletoes Mon 21-Jan-13 06:59:38

Queen because diabetes and underactive thyroids usually mean you have a host of other problems as well. The free prescription is not to find the insulin or thyroxine per se.

OP I feel your pain. I had a scleral buckle put on my eye last summer. It's changed my prescription but I can't afford new glasses. I can manage ok with these but worry that it's damaging my sight longterm.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 21-Jan-13 07:01:57

DH has free eye tests as his prescription is so high and is progressively worsening (-10+), and yes, he cannot function without specs or lenses.

Even with his outrageous prescription though, small frames will reduce the thickness of the lens to something reasonably manageable. He has a nice pair that we pay crazy money for with high index lenses, and then an emergency pair which have normal lenses.

IncognitoIsMyFavouriteWord Mon 21-Jan-13 07:05:07

what benefits are they free?

they weren't free when I was on income support. It was still exactly the same. And that was with specsavers.

My glasses are a fortune too. The cheaper frames tend to be crap and not very robust. I have to pay for the lense thinning myself so when you're supposed to get a second pair for free I had to use that voucher for the thinning.

The only cheap optician near me is specsavers all the rest are independents so much more expensive.

The cost doesn't even compare to the cost of medicine prescriptions. Also if your lense prescription changes you only get the sight test free everything else has to be paid for all over again and its not like you can just go without.angry

rant over

fluffiphlox Mon 21-Jan-13 07:08:00

I had no idea you could get specs so cheaply. I am very shortsighted with astigmatism and usually get stung for about £400, but as I wear my specs all day every day, I think it's worth it.
I wouldn't normally suggest it, but couldn't you stick them on a credit card? They're a necessity after all.

memphis83 Mon 21-Jan-13 07:22:24

I echo the other posters saying Asda. My db has the thick lenses for free from there.

I don't want to sound harsh but there is a huge elephant in the room "Can't see the woods for the trees " situation.

eggsy11 - the contact lenses are damaging your eyes.

You've got the blood vessels growing in which means they are being starved of oxygen.
So while you are saying "Oh I can't afford £100 but I can do £12 a month just now"
You are carrying on with the damage.
Where's the sense?
Surely if you go to an optician- and you can take your prescription to any optician, they will see your dilemma?

HappyAsASandboy Mon 21-Jan-13 07:29:23

My prescription is the same as yours.

I get my glasses from tesco opticians (in store, not online). Their cheapest glasses are £15 and £20, with lots of choice at £65. They will put our prescription in the frames at the standard price, but will try to sell you the thinner lenses first (by telling you fat lenses are ugly in the frames sad ) You'll need to pick the big chunky plastic frames though, not delicate wire ones.

I hope you find some soon, but in the meantime, can you bear to travel to and from work in your glasses and put your lenses in when you get there/before you leave? Or at least as soon as you get home? Every hour you can wear glasses instead of lenses, particularly awake hours, will help with the capillary creep.

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