Private Charges and Payment Plans for Eye Tests and Examinations
If you are not eligible for a sight test paid for by the NHS or for help with a voucher towards your specs or contact lenses what are you in for?
The average cost of a private sight test is around £25-30 well below the cost of providing the service required by the customer and by the regulatory body (The General Optical Council).
It costs around £80+ to perform an eye examination so one can see why the differential is added to the spectacle cost from the loss making NHS and Private sight test. Some extras are available in some practices such as OCT investigation (Optical coherence tomography, or OCT, is an imaging method used to generate a picture of the back of your eye, called your retina), . fundus photography which creates a record of the health of your eye which can be compared year on year. We think these extra tests gives value for money especially as we grow older and are likely to see more changes in our eyes.
As qualified practitioners have to compete more and more with non qualified sales through the internet they will have to slowly redress the balance between service and product costs and we therefore foresee an increase in private fees in the future with a capping of product charges. So to that extent it makes sense if you pay privately to ask if the practice has any payment plans that allow you to save by direct debit or standing order a small amount each month which will cover the fee costs at your annual/biannual eye examination and often qualify you for significant reductions on spectacles and contact lenses.
Contact lens wearers have been doing this for years where their monthly costs include check ups, eye examinations, lenses and solutions and it’s a natural progression to see this method being used for eye care and specs. (The dentists and vets have similar plans)
So how much are specs?
Bit of a length of string question really, because that will depend on your tastes in fashion, your prescription and needs and the type of lens you feel most comfortable wearing. The average spend overall for private purchasers were £180 per visit. (limited data exists) It is possible to furnish yourself with cover from health insurance companies who will pay towards service costs and product charges on an annual/biannual basis. As the average interval between sight tests for adults is around 30 months and it’s possibly a greater interval between spectacle purchases it means that we spend less than 20 pence a day on spectacle wear, a fifth of an average newspaper cost which we probably couldn’t read without specs!