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How to get cheap eyecare!
Your eyesight is a precious thing. However, trips to the opticians can end up being an expensive event. Follow the tips below to make your next opticians visit as painless for your purse as possible!
1. The most important tip has to be: shop around. Don’t just go to the opticians down the road as it’s closest to your house. Look out for free eyesight test deals or discounts, and give them a ring with any price related queries before you go in for your appointment, so you know exactly what to expect. Some places will refund the sight test cost if you purchase glasses or contact lenses from them.
2. Before you fork out for an eyesight test, check first if you’re eligible for a free one. People under the age of 16 or over the age of 60 are exempt, as are full time students aged 16-18. You are also exempt from sight test costs if you are claiming certain state benefits, have certain eye conditions or a high risk of such. You may also be entitled to an optical voucher towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses. For further details, go to the NHS link at the bottom of this article: don’t pay if you don’t have to!
• If you’re a UK resident, your sight test is free in Scotland. If you don’t live in Scotland, you and your peepers could always make a cheeky trip over the border!
• In the UK, if your job involves lengthy computer use, your employer is legally required to pay for your sight test. If you need glasses specifically for your work, your employer is also legally obliged to cover the costs for a basic pair.
3. Ask your optometrist about their eye care packages. Most places will offer a monthly care package, where you pay a set amount every month. This will include all sight tests, contact lens check-ups, other appointments as needed, and also contact lenses and solutions. Some also let you spread the cost of your new specs through this payment, on an interest-free basis.
4. Don’t get talked into buying anything you don’t want to buy at the opticians! They can be very persuasive; they also know most people will feel they have to buy from them. This isn’t the case; you are under no obligation whatsoever! Once you have had your test, you can request a copy of your prescription and use it to buy glasses or contact lenses anywhere you choose. A pair of glasses with lenses at the average high street opticians can cost £150 or more depending on your frame choice and lens specifications. Don’t forget you have other options! There are a growing number of websites selling prescription specs and contact lenses, at a much more reasonable price than at the average opticians. Thanks to a rather brilliant BOGOF deal I recently purchased 2 pairs of prescription glasses from Glasses Direct for £42, inclusive of the frames, lenses, cases and P&P!
If you’re concerned about buying glasses online without trying them on, fear not! Most sites have an online ‘mirror’ feature so you can see yourself wearing the specs, and some offer a home trial service where they send you a few pairs of frames to try on at home.
If you’re long-sighted, ready-to-buy reading glasses are available at a variety of stores in set dioptres and are often around the £15 mark. Bargain!
A few useful links: