Welsh Eye Care Examination

The Welsh Assembly Government has introduced two special types of eye examinations for selected categories of patients who live in Wales.

  • Optometrists (ophthalmic opticians) who are registered to take part in the WECI may perform, free of charge, one of the following special types of eye examinations, depending on the patient
  • Selected categories of patients who may be at greater risk of eye disease and may be entitled to an 'Eye Health Examination'. A request for this can be made from the patient themselves or from the patient's G.P.
  • A patient who has a sudden eye problem can request a 'Primary Eyecare Acute Referral Scheme (PEARS)' eye examination. This request can be from the patient themselves or via their G.P.

Welsh Eye Care Examination (WECE)

This examination has been specifically designed, by the health advisors to the Welsh Assembly, to detect eye disease in those patients potentially at greatest risk.

You will be entitled to this examination free of charge if your GP refers you or if you are eligible for reasons of personal or family health. Also see the Eye Care Wales website for more details.


The Welsh Assembly have also devised an examination to assist in the care of patients suffering acute eye problems, patients exhibiting certain signs and/or symptoms will be seen urgently free of charge under this new scheme. Please remember to describe any signs or symptoms to our staff, GP or NHS Direct as soon as you are aware of the problem.

Pears Logo

How do I know if I am entitled to an Eye Health or PEARS eye examination?

Any member of the public can receive either of these eye examinations by visiting a Eye Health and PEARS registered optometrist (ophthalmic optician). Accredited optometrists will often display the purple smiling face in their practice windows.

Click on the links below for more information, you can also view the Eye Care Wales website here.

Primary Eyecare Acute Referral Scheme (PEARS) Entitlements

You are entitled to a Primary Eyecare Acute Referral Scheme (PEARS) examination if:

  • You have been referred by your GP to a PEARS registered optometrist with an eye problem.
  • You have an eye problem that occurred suddenly (acutely) and you think it requires urgent or immediate attention.

Eye Health Examination Entitlements

You are entitled to an Eye Health Examination if:

  • You have sight in one eye only, i.e. you are effectively blind in your worse eye.
  • You have a hearing impairment and are profoundly deaf
  • You suffer from retinitis pigmentosa.
  • Your family origins are Black African, Black Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi.
  • You are at risk of eye disease by other reasons of race or family history.
  • You can also ask your GP for a referral to a registered optometrist or you may visit the optometrist yourself and explain why you are entitled to an Eye Health or PEARS eye examination.

What is special about these groups?


Sudden eye problems can be serious and prompt assessment is advisable. In the past, people with sudden eye problems visited their G.P. which often meant they had to wait to be seen. Now, if you have an immediate eye problem, which you think may be serious, you can visit an optometrist who is registered with the WECI scheme and have an appointment on the same day. Also, the WECI scheme allows G.Ps to refer patients with a sudden eye problem straight to a registered optometrist. Optometrists are well placed in the community to check out these types of eye problems quickly and effectively.

Eye Health Examination

Research has shown that certain groups of people are more likely to develop glaucoma, diabetes, cataracts and other related eye diseases. Other people in the scheme would find losing their sight particularly difficult, so special care needs to be taken to identify early eye disease.

Do I have to see my GP first?


Not necessarily, if you have an acute eye problem you can simply contact a WECI registered optometrist, without having to see your G.P. However, if you have a sudden eye problem and you would like to visit your G.P. then you may do so. Your G.P. can then decide if they think it is necessary for you to be referred to a WECI registered optometrist.

Eye Health Examination

No, if you fall into one of the listed groups then you can simply contact the optometrist and make an appointment.

What are the warning signs of eye disease?

Identifying the warning signs can be difficult. You can't always see the problems by looking in a mirror, and many of the diseases have no pain or discomfort - so it's important to have your eyes checked.

Is the new eye examination the same as a sight test?

No, it is different from the routine sight test for glasses. The Eye Care Initiative eye examination focuses particularly on the health of your eye. An optometrist who is registered with the scheme will thoroughly check your eyes for any signs of disease. Also, the PEARS and Eye Health exams are free of charge for the patient provided they fall into one of the above categories.


Don't neglect your eyes, call us today on 01495 213 979 to speak with one of our professional and qualified Abertillery opticians or book an appointment.