Arranging eye care is a part of the to-do list for most expats who move to Spain.

For many, eye care is an essential part of daily life, although finding the right information is not always easy — especially with the added language barrier.

To help you get started, we’ve put together some useful information on arranging eye care for expats in Spain.

Arranging expat eye care in Spain

Arranging eye care cover in Spain can be confusing for British expats who are used to the NHS system — from using your prescription abroad to finding an expat-friendly optician.

Using your prescription in Spain

Before moving, it’s worth obtaining an up-to-date copy of your prescription, as well as any medical notes, from your UK optician. These details can help your new optician in Spain to gain a complete overview of your eye care history. Don’t worry if you don’t have this, at Specsavers you can have a free eye test including digital retinal photography, if recommended by your optometrist.

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Eye care cover for British expats in Spain

There are a number of healthcare cover options for expats in Spain. From NHS and Spanish state healthcare to private health insurance, it’s important to understand the range of cover options available, and which cover best suits your needs.

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Finding an expat-friendly optician

If you’re not yet comfortable with the language in Spain — that’s ok. It’s well worth taking a bit of extra time to find an English-speaking optician who makes your eye care experience as easy as possible. To help, we’ve compiled a few factors to consider when looking for an expat-friendly optician in Spain.

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Visiting Specsavers in Spain: Will I need to speak Spanish?

At Specsavers Opticas, we’re dedicated to ensuring that language barriers do not affect the quality of your eye care experience. You will find a fluent, English-speaking optician at each of our
Spanish stores.

Sun damage and protection in Spain

At Specsavers Opticas, we’re dedicated to ensuring that language barriers do not affect the quality of your eye care experience. You will find a fluent, English-speaking optician at each of our Spanish stores.

UV rays and sun damage

Increased hours of sunshine and UV ray exposure can make your eyes more sensitive to light and even place specific parts of your eyes, such as the retina, at risk of damage. British expats who are used to the drizzly UK might be more likely to develop common eye conditions such as photophobia (light sensitivity) or dry eye syndrome as a result of the additional sunshine.

Sun protection

There are a number of steps that expats can take to protect their eyes from the sun. From coloured and polarising lenses to choosing a high-quality pair of UV400 sunglasses, your local optician will be able to advise on the best option for you.

Your Specsavers opticians experience in Spain

At Specsavers Opticas, we believe that the quality of eye care you receive should remain the same, wherever you live. That’s why each optician in our Spanish stores is trained to deliver the same service you’ve come to know in the UK.

Eye tests at Specsavers Opticas

Eye tests at a Specsavers store in Spain won’t be too different from what you’d expect in the UK. From friendly English-speaking staff and great range of frames to choose from, we’ll ensure that your experience is as pleasant as possible.

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Buying glasses and contact lenses in Spain

You may have a number of questions when it comes to buying a new pair of glasses (gafas), contact lenses (lentillas) or sunglasses (gafas de sol) in Spain. Do I need a Spanish prescription, for example? And will I have access to the same great frames as I do back home?

You can find more information about using your UK prescription in Spain, or getting a new one here. Whether that’s in relation to contact lenses or glasses, we’ve got you covered.

We have many of the same great styles and designer glasses and sunglasses brands as our UK stores — so you’re always guaranteed to find a pair you love. Don’t hesitate to ask our experts as we are always happy to recommend specific frames to suit your face shape, style or eye care needs.

Using your UK driving licence in Spain

If you were living in Spain before 16 March 2023 you are able to use a valid UK driving licence to drive in Spain for 6 months from this date. Alternatively, if you moved to Spain after this date, you can drive using your valid UK licence for six months from the date you acquired residency.

After this point, you can exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one. As part of this process, you will need to pass the psycho-physical aptitude test and have proof of residence. For more requirement details click here.

What is the psycho-physical aptitude test? ('Psicotecnico' Exam)

The psycho-physical aptitude test will determine whether you are fit to exchange your licence. The test includes the following:

  • Eye examination
  • Hearing and audiometry evaluation
  • A Blood pressure check and pulmonary auscultation
  • Tests of mobility, strength, and coordination
  • Psychological test
  • Questions concerning your health in general

You will need a certificate indicating you have passed the exam in order to switch your licence.The certificate will be valid for three months. A list of test centres may be found on the DGT (Driver recognition centre) website

My UK licence has expired. Will I be able to exchange it without taking a test?

Expired licences are accepted provided they were valid at the time you began living in Spain.

Want to learn a few new Spanish phrases for your next store visit?

Although our English-speaking staff are happy to help, you could try learning some key phrases to make you more confident before your visit. Here are some terms you might want to know:

  • Prescripción - prescription
  • Gafas graduadas - prescription glasses
  • Gafas fotocromáticas - photochromic or Reactions glasses
  • Gafas de sol - sunglasses
  • El óptico: optician
  • Examen visual: eye test
  • Lentillas: contact lenses
  • Lente de contacto: contact lens
  • Miopía: shortsighted, nearsighted
  • Hipermetropía: longsighted, farsighted

When speaking about differences in the lenses, for example in an eye test, three useful words to know are: mejor (better), peor (worse), or igual (equal).