Eligibility for and Frequency of Sight Tests

Eligibility for and Frequency of Sight Tests

Patient Eligibility

The Primary Ophthalmic Services Regulations 2008 lay out the eligibility requirements of patients entitled to an NHS sight test.

Additional information is available in Primary Ophthalmic Services Department of Health Guidance 2008

The National Health Services (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015 (as amended) do not apply to GOS – there is no nationality or residency requirement for eligibility for GOS. For further information, see guidance from the Optical Confederation.

In England domiciliary/mobile providers can only offer/provide GOS to patients within the area set out in their additional services contracts.

Enhanced (Community) services can only be offered or provided to patients who are registered with a GP in the area of the NHS body with which the practice or LOC Primary Eyecare Company (PEC) holds an enhanced services contract.

Universal Credit

Some people who receive Universal Credit are entitled to GOS sight tests.  Further detail is available in the Optical Confederation guidance below.

Optical Confederation Universal Credit Guidance – updated March 2018


Frequency of Sight Tests – England and Wales

Frequency of Sight Tests – Memorandum of Understanding (England and Wales)

The Department of Health has produced a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the frequency of sight tests for different categories of patients receiving GOS.  An optometrist may carry out a sight test at a shorter interval than specified, either at the practitioner’s initiative for a clinical reason, or because the patient presents to the practitioner with symptoms or concerns which might be related to an eye condition.  If a patient is tested earlier then the recommend interval the reason for the early retest must be stated in the patient records and on the GOS 1 form.

Frequency of Sight Tests – Scotland

Scotland – GOS Sight Test Intervals

The Memorandum of Understanding provides a guide to sight test intervals.

Frequency of Sight Tests – Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland – GOS Sight Test Intervals

The link below provides information on GOS Sight Test intervals in Northern Ireland.