Free eye tests

These days I keep on getting junk mail from Specsavers trying to get me to arrange a FREE! eye test. Since the eye tests became free at the point of use in Scotland less than a year ago I must have received at least four letters about it, and they are becoming increasingly exasperated by my non-attendance.

Today’s letter begins with a line in big bold writing:

An URGENT message about your FREE eye examination

It’s now nearly three and a half years since your last sight test at this practice.

How do they know it’s urgent? Something tells me that I might be in a better position to judge whether or not I need an eye test. It’s quite simple really. If I can’t see easily, I’ll take a trip to the opticians like I did several years ago. If I can see easily, I won’t take a trip to the opticians — because I don’t need to.

I’m pretty certain that my eyesight hasn’t deteriorated in the past three and a half years. In fact, the optician that tested my eyes the last time actually gave me a row because I turned up and my eyesight hadn’t changed.

I know there is probably a good reason why the boss of Specsavers is the boss of Specsavers whereas I stack shelves in Woolies. But these letters still confuse me. Why do they now keep on sending these letters which shout louder at me each time and at an increasing frequency? Unless they must do so by law (which seems far fetched to me), they can only be doing this because they think they can make money in future, using the free eye tests as a loss leader. So why did they not make their eye tests free anyway, before the Scottish Executive told them to?


  1. Presumably, if Specsavers are sending you reminders, they can bill the Scottish Executive based on the number of tests that they do? Or if that’s not the case, do they charge you extra because they do a “super-wonderful” eye test which is obviously superior to the normal NHS one?

    (I’m not Scottish – and I’ve no idea whether either is true?)

  2. I used to work in an opticians – Specsavers are writing because they don’t just check your vision.

    A routine eye test can identify sight-related illnesses such as glaucoma and cataracts, a relatively unknown fact is that the same eye test could help to detect serious medical conditions that you wouldn’t usually associate with the eyes, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and brain tumours. Optometrists are trained over a period of 4 years to ensure that they look out for eye related diseases and these other medical conditions.

    Specsavers have a ‘duty of care’ to their customes so they keep on sending letters.

    It’s is free, it’s a health check, why not go?

  3. I’m an ophthalmic nurse. Phinzie has said most of what I wanted to say. May I just add that if any of your family has glaucoma, or if you are long-sighted, you should definitely get your eyes checked.

  4. Hi, this has almost nothing to do with this particular topic but I was wondering if someone could help me. I’m doing a little bit of research on the optical sector and wanted some help with the following question, and just wanted to know how the following four things affect the running of an optical business.

    What are the political, economical, social and technological effects on the optical business…

    If you could please e-mail replies to, ant help is appreciated. Thank you

  5. Well i just recently brought some prescroption glasses from They cost £25.99, and included the lense, frames and free extras.. and free delivery.

    Did have a look at other sites, but Specsfinder had a impressive 2000 range, and all frames are £12.99..

    There defently worth a look, check it out..

    p.s i got a 10% discount promo code, which few of my mates have already used, and it works..

    Promo Code :”students”



  6. […] I got my eyes tested today, because when I scoffed at the idea on this blog a load of commenters came along to tell me I should go because otherwise I might have eye cancer, or something. My eyesight hasn’t changed. […]

  7. as an optometrist it is worth while to have eyes checked at the rommended periods.What i tend to find is that once you start to get ocular problem that are not due to prescription problems but health realted , it may be too late to retify any damage.
    But i can see you may be concerned about going because you feel you may be flogged a pair of spex. This is feel is the main problem with working for specsavers as they pay bonuses to opticians for seeling glasses, and keep track of how many person you test get glasses on your advice.
    I would alway recommend that all patient that have a sigt test, never buy thier glasses on th day of the test and go around looking for quotes from other shops. this prevents overselling by the optometrist(which is ripe in specsavers)

  8. I find specsavers, Vision Express, Boots place a lot of pressure upon the Optometrist to performance related. If they find that you are underperforming in recommending a specs presciption then you get called in the manager with a verbal warning. It is a shame that the regulatory body such as GOC is powerless to eridicate this behaviour. It is a ‘Big Boy’ bullying tactics which is probably the reason why qualified in Optics staff leave for other profession or even leave this country as thaere ar to many laws and rstrictions to protect the professionals and persons. Best to stick to small independents or go by friend/relative recommendations fro eye tests to avoid over prescribing.