The NSW Spectacles Program provides Government funded glasses and vision aids to eligible recipients including the elderly, children, people experiencing homelessness, those living in rural and remote areas, people with disability and Aboriginal and multicultural communities.
This year, significant improvements have been made to the scheme with Vision Australia launching a new online application and assessment process. The new process streamlines applications and product delivery for optometrists, and reduces waiting times for the delivery of glasses.This web page is a key resource for providers and potential recipients to find out about the NSW Spectacles Program.
On this page:
How to apply
Before applying for the Program, you must have recently had an eye examination and have a prescription that is not older than 6 months. Most providers participating in the Program are optometrists who can conduct your eye examination.
The application is completed by your optometrist or optical dispenser. You need to bring a Centrelink Income Statement (if you receive a Centrelink benefit) or recent payslip and bank statement (if you are a low income earner). You will receive an instant assessment of your eligibility based on information you provide. If Vision Australia confirms that you are eligible, your optometrist or optical dispenser will order your spectacles and let you know when they are ready to collect.
Download the current list of optometrists and optical dispensers who are participating on the Spectacles Program across Sydney and NSW. If you are unable to locate a provider in your area please contact Vision Australia on 1300 84 74 66 and ask for “Spectacles” at the voice prompt or email email@example.com
What information do I need to provide to apply?
To make an application to the Program your optometrist or optical dispenser will ask you to provide personal details including your name, address, date of birth, gender, marital/de facto status, Medicare number and Pension type.
Centrelink Income Statement
If you receive a Centrelink benefit, you must provide a Centrelink Income Statement that is no more than 3 months old. The Centrelink Income Statement provides details of your income and assets. A Centrelink Income Statement can be requested by visiting a Centrelink office, using your Centrelink online account or via telephone, call 136 240.
Low income earners
If you are a low income earner, you must provide a payslip to confirm your income and a bank statement to confirm your assets. Both of these documents must be no more than 3 months old.
Consent and declaration
At the time of application, your optometrist or optical dispenser will provide you with the terms and conditions for participating in the Program. This will explain privacy conditions for the protection of your personal information and any action Vision Australia or the NSW government may take to verify information provided in your application.
You will be asked to provide verbal consent to the terms and conditions of the Program and a declaration that the information you have provided is true and correct. Patient consent to NSW Spectacles Program terms and conditions (Word, 77KB).
If you are not eligible your provider will provide you with the NSW Spectacles Program Ineligible outcome notification (Word, 87KB). If you wish to discuss this decision further please contact Vision Australia.
If you wish to access the scheme book an appointment with a participating optometrist.
Information for providers
Vision Australia’s service delivery model enables participating optometrists to use their own supply chains to source and supply spectacles for eligible patients. Spectacles and optical appliances are then reimbursed at a set rate.
A web-based online portal supports the delivery of the program by:
- Capturing patient information
- Automatically assessing patient eligibility based on information from their Centrelink Income Statement
- Facilitating online claim lodgment
- Providing visibility of claim status including reimbursement payments made by Vision Australia
The new service delivery model and online portal are designed to streamline provider and patient experience when accessing the NSW Spectacles Program including:
- Retaining patient details
- Immediate access to Program support information such as ineligible notices available in the following language options: English, Arabic, Vietnamese, Chinese, Greek and Hindi.
- Enabling optometrists to leverage their own supply chains
- Reduced delivery times
- Electronic data storage
- Visibility of claim status
Interested in registering for this worthwhile Program?
To register as a provider for the Program, optometrists and optical dispensers should enter their details in the online portal under the link “Optom Register”
Vision Australia will then contact you and provide you key information and guidelines along with the current Product Price Schedule for your consideration.
Providers must register with the Program by completing and signing the NSW Spectacles Program Registration Form and Terms. A list of optical suppliers (Word, 123KB)
is available to assist eye care professionals. These suppliers are able to supply low cost frames and lenses. Vision Australia encourages registered providers of the NSW Spectacles Program to source Australian-made optical appliances. Suppliers interested in being listed in this document are welcome to contact Vision Australia. Inclusion in this list is not to be considered an endorsement of product by Vision Australia.
1300 84 74 66
Feedback, complaints and appeals
Customer service and feedback including complaints
Vision Australia values your feedback.
Vision Australia takes all complaints seriously and has strict procedures in place to guarantee that all complaints are dealt with in a thorough and transparent manner. Read our Complaints and Suggestions for Improvement Policy here
. Complaints and suggestions for improvement regarding the NSW Spectacles Program can be submitted via phone, email or online by completing the Form for Complaints and Suggestions
A small proportion of beneficiaries will be surveyed regularly for satisfaction with the Program to identify opportunities for improvement and ensure the Program is fulfilling its purpose.
If a beneficiary believes that Vision Australia has incorrectly declined their application for spectacles under the Program, they are encouraged to contact Vision Australia to discuss and clarify the reasons for the decision. This will provide a chance to correct any misunderstanding, present new information and get an incorrect decision changed quickly should such a need arise.
If after doing this, a beneficiary still feels the decision is incorrect, they can lodge an appeal and ask for the decision to be reviewed by the NSW Spectacles Program. Requests for appeals are to be lodged in writing by a beneficiary or on their behalf by their nominated representative (such as a family member or the prescribing optometrist). This can be in the form of an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or posted letter to NSW Spectacles Program, Vision Australia, PO Box 176, Burwood NSW 1805.
In seeking an appeal, the beneficiary should provide Vision Australia with any additional information that should be considered and the reasons they believe the decision was incorrect.
Most appeals are first addressed internally by staff not involved in the original decision. If necessary, the appeal may be considered by a panel which includes an expert optometrist who is external to Vision Australia.
The appeal process will involve:
- A review of the information used to make the original decision.
- Contact with the beneficiary or their representative by phone to discuss the matter (if necessary).
- Checking whether any additional relevant information is available.
- Clearing up any misunderstanding.
- Correction of any mistakes that were made.
- A recommendation regarding whether the original decision should be changed.
The timeframe for an appeal will depend on the complexity of the issue. The beneficiary will be informed in writing of the appeal outcome once the determination has been made.
If a beneficiary is unhappy with the outcome of an appeal there are outside agencies that may be able to help:
Family and Community Services (FACS)
Phone: 1800 000 164
The NSW Ombudsman handles complaints about the administrative conduct of NSW government agencies and funded services such as the NSW Spectacles Program. In relation to Vision Australia, this could include the adequacy of processes used to consider an application for spectacles, and how a complaint had been dealt with by Vision Australia.
Contact 9286 1000 or toll free if outside Sydney 1800 451 524.