Section 13 – Free eye examinations and sight tests
39.Section 13 makes provision in relation to free eye examinations and sight tests. It does so by extending the meaning of general ophthalmic services, the provision of which must be secured under section 26 of the 1978 Act. At present, general ophthalmic services to be provided free of charge are limited to the testing of sight, which would determine whether or not a person requires an optical appliance (e.g. spectacles), of certain categories of person. This section extends the duty in section 26(1) of the 1978 Act both to include eye examinations, tailored to meet the needs of the individual patient and which may, or may not, include a sight test, and to apply to all.
40.In subsection (1) of section 26 of the 1978 Act, new wording is substituted in order to provide that Health Boards are placed under a duty to make arrangements with ophthalmic opticians and ophthalmic medical practitioners for the carrying out of eye examinations which will include the testing of the patient’s sight where this is considered necessary in the clinical opinion of the ophthalmic optician or medical practitioner who is undertaking the eye examination.
41.Subsections (1A) to (1E) of section 26 of the 1978 Act are repealed. These set out the categories of patient who are currently entitled to have their sight tested free of charge under general ophthalmic services and are therefore otiose.
42.Sub-paragraph (3)(a) of paragraph 2A of Schedule 11 to the 1978 Act is repealed. This provides for Scottish Ministers or a Health Board to contribute towards the cost of sight tests for those persons whose income/capital does not exceed their requirements as calculated in accordance with regulations but falls within the regulatory parameters for help with costs.