Medical Card Eligibility

Medical Cards & PRSI Entitlements

Regular eye examinations are important, which is why we recommend you have an eye examination at least every two years if you are aged between 9 and 70 *. Under 9's and over 70's should have a sight test every year. (*unless advised otherwise by your optometrist or doctor)
If you have a medical card issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE) you can receive certain health services free of charge. Normally, your dependent spouse or partner and your children are also covered for the same range of health services. You are entitled to a free eye examination and any necessary standard spectacles once every two years* if you:

  • Are a medical card holder
  • Are dependent on a medical card holder
  • Are aged 60 or over
  • Are aged under 16 and referred from child health services and school health services examinations
  • Are diagnosed as having Hepatitis C contracted through the use of Human Immunoglobulin-Anti-D or from receiving a blood product/transfusion within Ireland and who have a Health Amendment Act Card.
  • Only income is below income guidelines for your circumstances
  • Are experiencing exceptional medical, social or personal issues causing undue financial hardship.
  • Are a person with EU entitlement
  • Affected by the drug thalidomide
  • Affected by Sympthysiotomy

 (*more often if required in certain medical circumstances.)


In addition, depending on your qualifying PRSI contributions, you may also be entitled to optical services for free or at a reduced cost from the Treatment Benefit Scheme if you:

  • Have paid Class A, E, P or H social insurance contributions
  • The amount of social insurance you need depends on your age, please see this page for further details

What is Optical Benefit?

Optical Benefit pays some of the cost of treatments relating to eye care for people who do not qualify for free care and who have paid enough social insurance (PRSI). Benefits can help with the cost of an eye examination (this does not cover the cost of an eye examination for visual display units (VDU) such as computers or for driving licences).

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