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"FREE" EYE TEST/GLASSES for CHILDREN - how much do you actually pay for them?

(47 Posts)
Giuliettatoday Mon 16-Jul-07 19:20:43

Hi there,

I supposed you should be able to get free eye tests and glasses on the NHS for children (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Still, I ended up paying £40 today.

£15 frame (they tried to show us lots of far more expensive ones, £40 and even more than £100 without even asking what we were looking for, just asking my ds (8) if he liked the glasses. Luckily I was able to convince him to choose the £15 frame. There was NONE that would have been completely free, but ok, £15 is not the world. Another £10 for scratch resistance (ok, that was entirely my choice so fine).
While I hadn't expected this, still ok so far (£25 I thought). But no, the bill was £40. I had to politely ask why, the assistant didn't mention anything and just asked for "settlement" (of the bill that is).

The answer was, technically the NHS eye check is free, but not with Mr. XY (optician). It does actually cost something (£15) because he's so great.


I was of course too polite and embarrassed to cause trouble (typical) but found this very cheeky (they hadn't mentioned it at all when booking the appointment and also not when we arrived for the appointment).


Last year I tried another optician and the cheapest kids glasses started at £40. Ds was so sad he couldn't have them it was heartbreaking.

We are not really poor so can afford this, my childrens eye-sight is important to me and surely I spend a lot of money on non-essential things, however, I don't see why they don't tell you anything about the actual cost beforehand and why I should pay a lot of money on designer frames which neither I nor my child care for.

Plus I think they should at least have one free frame which doesn't necessarily need look stylish but at least then you had a real choice. Also I'd really like to know the fees for the check beforehand.

Don't get me wrong, £15 is fine for me to pay, but I just don't like the way the opticians think I'd happily spend £80 or more on child's glasses (they manage to break them all the time anyway, so what's the point?).

I know there're plenty of opticians, but with three dc I don't really like dragging them from shop to shop or ring dozens of opticiansl.

Maybe I'm overreacting but would still love to know what you pay.

OP’s posts: |
fryalot Mon 16-Jul-07 19:21:53



should have gone to specsavers

(sorry! but I took dd1 there and we paid nothing and the glasses were actually very nice)

WigWamBam Mon 16-Jul-07 19:22:45

Dd's eye test was completely free. There were a number of nice frames which were also completely free, but dd chose a pair of Barbie ones, which cost me £10.

I think you need to change your optician - the sight test should be completel free for a child.

WigWamBam Mon 16-Jul-07 19:23:33

(Was at Vision Express, by the way)

PersonalHouseElf Mon 16-Jul-07 19:24:37

Ds has just had one with Stephenson and Parker. They have experience of SN kids. It was still free.
You should not have to pay for any kid's eye test.

WigWamBam Mon 16-Jul-07 19:27:29

Show your optician this. "Under the NHS an eye examination is available free of charge for all children up to the age of 16, and up to the age of 19 if they are in full-time education".

Blandmum Mon 16-Jul-07 19:27:49

Nothing for the test and nothing for the glasses. We have also got free replacements when dd has broken her glasses.

Please shop around. They big chains will do it all free for you

nutcracker Mon 16-Jul-07 19:28:18

Ds had an eye test at an independat opticians last week and it was absolutly free.

Blandmum Mon 16-Jul-07 19:28:57

and the frames that are free (all the kids ones btw) are 'designer' bmx, barbie, head etc

sparklygothkat Mon 16-Jul-07 19:33:30

I go to D&A and the sight test is free (normally done at the hospital for DD1 but now DS has it at the opticians) and free for the glasses, unless DD1 and DS want different ones and I will only go to £20 for frames.

MadEyeMisdee Mon 16-Jul-07 19:35:03

dd3 eye tests are done at the hospital for free (she is 2 years old). she gets her glasses at stephenson and parker and they are free. they even arranged a free second pair for her as she seems to break them a lot, so i often have one pair in for repairs and one on her.

geekgirl Mon 16-Jul-07 19:42:41

dd2 has eye tests at the hospital (free) and free glasses from Specsavers (pretty Barbie frame). I pay £6 for scratch-resistant coating.

Sounds like you went to a royally shite optician.

FioFioJane Mon 16-Jul-07 19:44:55

I use my local rayner opticians and have only ever had to pay for one alteration (I asked for curly things for behind the ears) apart from that it has all been free. She has lovely frames aswell

Giuliettatoday Mon 16-Jul-07 19:49:30

Thanks so much for your answers so far, even though the money's gone now it's very reassuring to know that this is not normal.

I'm definitely not going to take my ds to that optician again (nor the other one with the £40+ childrens' frames) once I have collected the glasses (will probably send my dh to pick them up and make sure he makes a 'nice' comment).

Just trying to comfort myself thinking the frame is very nice at least...

OP’s posts: |
Furball Mon 16-Jul-07 19:54:54

We also have free test and glasses but I do pay £10 to have the lens made thinner.

Furball Mon 16-Jul-07 19:55:45

ooh and when ds lost his glasses, I just rang up and ordered new ones which were ready the next day, again just £10 for the thinner lens.

Hulababy Mon 16-Jul-07 20:00:51

DD's eye test was completely free.

elliott Mon 16-Jul-07 20:03:39

Never paid anything at all for tests or glasses, including (frequent) breakages. Seems a pretty good range of free frames too.
Wonder where you are??

saffy202 Mon 16-Jul-07 20:05:17

Nothing at Specsavers - was expecting to pay something as ds1 picked a pair costing £75 but they didn't charge us.

elliott Mon 16-Jul-07 20:06:59

just reading through your op again, I think you have been badly misled (or worse) by being charged for the eye test - there is no reason for this not to be free on the NHS. I'd challenge them if I were you. they could be claiming back the money as well as charging you....

Howdydoody Mon 16-Jul-07 20:07:08

DD1 been wearing glasses for a few years.We go to Boots for eye test and they always show you free ones and have a really good range.
Poor you having this with your ds sounds like they havent handled things at all well for you

Howdydoody Mon 16-Jul-07 20:07:47

Boots eye test for children are free too btw

Seona1973 Mon 16-Jul-07 20:18:19

my dd gets her eye test at the hospital for free and her glasses have been from Optical Express and Dollond and Aitchison and both cost nothing. The Optical Express ones were Barbie, etc and I did pay £10 once for a scratch resistant coating. DD also had 3 replacements in 1 year which were free too. D & A had a free range plus a range you could pay for - we opted for the free ones but did pay to get the lenses thinned (DD's prescription got stronger so the lenses were much thicker). She has had one replacement so far which I didnt have to pay for (or for the thinning of the lenses). We have also just got her prescription sunglasses and they only cost £20 as they were being used as a second pair. Sounds like you have been taken for a ride. on your behalf!!

debbiewebweb Mon 16-Jul-07 20:34:30

two kids, several eye tests, lots of pairs of glasses - always free.

Giuliettatoday Mon 16-Jul-07 20:34:31

I now think we should/will challenge them, particularly because they had not mentioned there would be a charge for the eye test beforehand, neither when booking on the phone, nor when arriving there, and not even afterwards, it was just added to the bill in a very nonchalant and cheeky way without explanation (only when I asked for it, and even then it wasn't explained properly. The optician being so 'great' doesn't really matter, they have 'great' consultants in NHS hospitals and eye checks are still free for children there).

I'm not too bothered about the cost of the glasses now but the way I was charged for ds's eye exam and also the way they present expensive glasses without mentioning the price. At least ds was not upset as last year when I refused to pay £40 just for a frame.

OP’s posts: |

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