Eye Tests at Home (Domiciliary/Home Eye Tests)

For the elderly or those with mobility problems attending a local optometrist is not always easy. Carers are hard to find during the business hours of many optometrists and access from the road or car park is often too difficult. But it is just this group of people that above all others needs regular eye care. It is not just the eye test that one needs to visit but also the follow up collection of spectacles that are to be provided. We look at the options tor have a home visiting optician come to your home

So what are the options?

Some community hospitals (rare indeed) provide optometric care through visiting optometrists, but your GP (Doctor) must refer you through the appointment system and this can take a while. However transport can be provided if required.

The Government has created a special system for domiciliary eye tests in England, Wales and Ireland restricting the providers within certain rules. These are as follows:

Who can have an NHS Eye examination at home?

Domiciliary visits are only available on the NHS if the patient is unable to visit a community optometrist unaccompanied. They are not available to those who could get to an optometric practice but like the convenience of being tested at home.

For those that are physically able to reach a practice and mentally able to deal with the visit it is advisable to do so because costs may be incurred if they are ineligible, but also an eye examination performed in optical practices can provide greater in depth investigation because of the non portable equipment that now adorns most practices. However as this is not always possible the home visit becomes the best option in many cases where a visit for mentally or physically handicapped persons can be quite traumatic or is just impracticable.

Can i have a eye test home visit? 

  • I have a condition that stops you from leaving your home unaccompanied due to poor health, or
  • I am living with a diagnosed mental health condition that prevents me from leaving your home without the assistance of another person, or
  • I am housebound or bedbound due to a physical disability

What is meant by a physical or mental illness?

There are many conditions and reasons why someone might not able to leave their home unaccompanied. It’s best to talk to us about your situation so we can determine if you do meet the criteria, but to try and help make it a little clearer, here are a few examples. Conditions may include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Dementia
  • Severe arthritis
  • A diagnosed mental illness
  • A condition that affects your mobility
  • A condition that affects your short term memory
  • An illness that requires constant medication (for example, oxygen)
  • A temporary medical reason prohibiting you from leaving your home (such as vertigo)
  • A temporary illness that prevents a person from leaving the home unaccompanied
  • A medical professional has advised you not to leave home without help

Whatever the reason is, if you or someone you know can’t leave the home without the assistance of another person, then get in touch to find out if you’re eligible to have a home eye test.

It should also be remembered that those patients who are not eligible to have an NHS home visit must pay privately for the service. Therefore, if a patient is able to go out and would normally have an NHS sight test they would have to visit a community optometrist to receive the service or pay privately for both the visit and the eye examination. Practitioners are not allowed to provide an NHS sight test at home if the patient is able to visit a community practice.

For eligibility to a NHS paid for test please refer to our pages by clicking below:

Who can visit your home?

Eye care providers

Practitioners who provide NHS domiciliary eye care may have their own local premises or be a mobile service provider. However they must be registered to provide the service and lists of who are able to provide care in your PCT area are available from your local PCT.

Rules for providers of domiciliary visits

The General Ophthalmic services regulations have recently been updated to clarify how providers must conduct their business.

• Providers can only visit a patient at the request of that patient or their authorized representative. Providers should not be encouraged just to test everybody when they are visiting a nursing or residential home
• Patients should be free to choose their own practitioner. They may already be satisfied with their current practitioner. If so it is probably desirable for them to keep that practitioner for continuity of care if he/she should provide such a service.
• For visits to a premises in order to examine 1 or 2 patients the provider must give 48 hours notice to the PCT
• For visits to 3 patients or more the provider must give 3 weeks notice to the PCT
• When notifying the PCT, details of all patients to be seen will be required.
• Practitioners can only attend patients in a day centre if the patients are normally unable to attend a community optometrist unaccompanied e.g. if can only attend day centre because ambulance transport is provided.

We now have a listing of home visiting opticians which can be accessed in our Find Your Optician App