Information on free care

You may be eligible for a free eye test if you have a medical card, or through the Treatment Benefit Scheme.

Medical Card

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides optical services free of charge to medical card holders and their dependents. These services are mostly provided by local opticians.

If you have a medical card, you are entitled to a free eye test and any necessary standard spectacles once every two years. All examinations and spectacles require approval from your Local Health Office.

If you have a medical card, you should contact your Local Health Office for more information about getting a free eye test.

Treatment Benefit Scheme

If you do not qualify for free optical services under the medical card, the Treatment Benefit Scheme may cover you and your dependent spouse for certain free optical services.

Further information on the Treatment Benefit Scheme and participating optical practices is available here.

Diabetic Retinal Screening

If you have diabetes and you are aged 12 years or over, the National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme offers free, regular screening for diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that can damage eyesight. For more information see