Subsidy for children’s glasses and vision tests

If your child is 15 or under and has vision problems, you may be able to get the Spectacles Subsidy.

The Spectacles Subsidy can help with the costs of your child’s:

  • vision test
  • glasses (frames and lenses or repairs) or eye patches.

The most that can be paid is usually $287.50 (including GST).

Your child will need to have an assessment by an optometrist or eye specialist who is registered as an assessor for this subsidy. To find an assessor phone 0800 17 1981.

The optometrist or ophthalmologist will fill out a form with your help, and send it with their bill to Enable New Zealand. You’ll need to pay any balance.

The subsidy is available again after 12 months, if needed, for each child in your family who can get the subsidy.

Who can get the Spectacles Subsidy

Any of your children, aged 15 or under, but only if you or your child has a current community services card or a high use health card.

If you can’t get the subsidy talk to your optometrist, doctor or school about other help that may be available.

Other options may include:

  • recoverable loans from Work and Income
  • support from local community groups.

How to get help for your child

Make an appointment for your child’s vision to be tested by an optometrist or ophthalmologist or at the hospital.

Optometrists or ophthalmologists

  • Check the Yellow Pages to choose a local optometrist.
  • The front section of your phone book has numbers for ophthalmologists.
  • When you make the appointment, check whether the optometrist or ophthalmologist can apply for the subsidy.
  • Check the cost of the vision test as this is included as part of the subsidy.

Hospital appointments

  • You may be able to get your child’s vision tested at your local hospital. The number for the hospital is in the front of your phone book.
  • There may be a waiting list for an appointment.

If your child needs glasses you will still need to go to an optometrist or dispensing optician to get these. You cannot get glasses from the hospital.

More help from the Ministry of Health

  • An additional $51.11 (including GST) is available for children who need adult-size frames.
  • Higher level subsidy is also available for children and young people with more complex vision needs. More complex vision needs means that the Approved Assessor has confirmed that the child or young person has rapidly progressing myopia and requires assessment 6-monthly and possible 6-monthly modification to spectacles or amblyopia or strabismus and requires more extensive intervention.
  • Talk to your local optometrist for more information about this extra funding.

If at any time you have urgent concerns about your child’s vision or eyes, see your doctor, optometrist or go to your local hospital.

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