Ophthalmic Services: Treatment and Appliances

If you require eye-sight tests and/or spectacles, you can attend the Ophthalmic Optician of your choice. You are entitled to any optical appliance or service that is clinically necessary. The HSE will reimburse the optician directly for the cost of the sight test and spectacle lens (the rates are agreed annually between the HSE and the Irish Association of Optometrists).

Prior approval from your Hepatitis C Liaison Officer is not required when you avail of ophthalmic services. Forms for ophthalmic services will be available directly from opticians. Your optician will ask you to sign the form when you receive a service or are dispensed a pair of spectacles: this will enable the optician to be paid for the goods or service.

If you choose contact lenses (standard or disposable) instead of glasses, a grant is made towards the cost of dispensing and materials, and the cost of the examination (these costs include VAT). Where disposable lenses are chosen, the grant applies to the initial testing, dispensing and supply costs only, and not for further supplies or testing within a two year period, unless clinically necessary. In circumstances where it is clinically necessary for you to wear contact lenses instead of glasses, the cost of these lenses will be fully covered, provided you have a doctor's recommendation.

To summarise, you are entitled to:

  • An eye examination without charge, whenever necessary.
  • An allowance towards the cost of an eye examination for contact lenses, together with an allowance towards the cost of fitting, and initial supply of contact lenses, every two years, unless clinically necessary within a shorter period.
  • Spectacles required for either distance or reading, or both, with plastic lenses if desired. Bifocal lenses are also covered.
  • The full cost of any clinically necessary lenses;
  • An allowance of 90 towards the cost of the frames
  • You are entitled to two pairs of new spectacles per prescription within any two year period, unless of course you need to have them replaced more often because of a change in your prescription.

Any cardholder requiring a specialist medical eye examination must be referred by his/her GP or hepatologist to an appropriate consultant (this does not apply to straightforward sight tests). The cardholder will receive priority treatment from the HSE's Community Ophthalmic Physician, or will receive their first appointment with a hospital consultant within two weeks. In some cases, an ophthamologist might do specialist tests in conjunction with your eye examination.

Any problems which arise in the course of obtaining ophthalmic services should be addressed via the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer in the first instance.

A list of contracted opticians is available from your Hepatitis C Liaison Officer.

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