If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, then setting up eye care when you move to Spain will be on your to-do list. You might have a few questions, like can I use my UK glasses prescription in Spain? How do you go about getting new glasses and lenses when you’re abroad? Will I have to pay for my prescriptions?
To help answer some of these queries and concerns, we’ll take a closer look at using your prescription in Spain.
Prescription arrangementsto make in the UK
UK prescriptions can be used in Spain, although there are a few measures you’ll need to take to ensure there are no hiccups along the way. If you’re still in the UK, making a final appointment with your current optometrist is the first step. You’ll need to explain that you will be moving to Spain, and ask for a cross-border prescription.
A prescription for glasses, contact lenses and low vision aids (LVAs) which is intended to be used overseas should contain this information:
- Patient details (first name, last name, date of birth)
- Date the prescription was issued
- Details of the prescribing optician (first name, last name, professional qualification, contact details, registration number, work address, signature)
- Prescription details (name of the product, format, strength)
- Power of vision correction if required (including spherical, cylindrical components and axis as required)
- Whether the eye examination or eye test was NHS funded or private
It’s not necessary to recite all of this information to your optician, it’s part of an EU directive that enables prescriptions handed out in one EU country to be valid in all member states. However, as Brexit could affect this, it’s important to regularly check for updates on the European Commission for Health website.
Prescription arrangementsto make in Spain
If you have moved to Spain without making any prior arrangements with your UK optometrist, it’s not a problem. Optometrists have a number of ways to easily get hold of your prescription details. If you have a pair of prescription glasses or prescription sunglasses with you, your new optometrist should have a tool that they can use to read your prescription straight from your glasses.
If you notice a change in your vision once you’ve moved to Spain, you may need to update your prescription or obtain one if you don’t currently wear glasses or contact lenses. To do so, you’ll need to start from scratch with a new optician in Spain.
Obtaining a new glasses prescription in Spain
To get a new prescription for glasses or lenses, you’ll first need to book an eye test. A number of opticians, including Specsavers Opticas, offer free eye tests, although this may come with an obligation to buy, so make sure to check beforehand.
If your Spanish isn’t up-to-scratch yet, you might want to find an expat-friendly optometrist to perform the test in English and eliminate any language barriers. Eye tests in Spain are very similar to those in the UK, but here’s what you can expect from your first eye test in Spain.