Children’s Spectacle Subsidy

If your child is 15 or under and you have noticed they have vision problems causing them to need glasses, you may be able to get the spectacle subsidy. Find out what you can use it for and how to claim it.

Who can get the spectacle subsidy

A child or young person who is 15 years of age or under can get the spectacle subsidy, if:

  • the parent/guardian or child has a valid community services card, or
  • the child has a current high use health card.

There are also clinical guidelines your child will need to meet. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will discuss these guidelines with you during your appointment.

If your child does not meet the clinical guidelines, your optometrist or ophthalmologist may apply to Enable New Zealand external URL for a review of your child’s circumstances. Enable New Zealand manages the children’s spectacle subsidy on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

What you can use it for

You can use the spectacle subsidy to claim for the following items or services:

  • Eye examination
  • Spectacles (frames and lenses)
  • Eye patches
  • Repairs.

The spectacle subsidy cannot be claimed in advance.

How much you can claim

The total subsidy amount available each year for your child until they turn 16 years old is $287.50 including GST.

Of the $287.50, a maximum of $138.00 including GST can be used toward frames. Additional funding of $51.11 including GST is available if your child requires adult size frames.

A higher level subsidy is also available for children and young people with more complex vision needs.

More complex vision needs means that the examining ophthalmologist has confirmed that the child or young person has rapidly progressing myopia and requires assessment 6 monthly, and possible 6 monthly modification to spectacles, or has amblyopia or strabismus and requires more extensive intervention.

Your child’s subsidy year will start from the date that the first examination appointment occurred with an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. This date will become your child’s anniversary date.

If you do not use the full entitlement available, the remaining balance does not roll over to the following year. 

How to claim the spectacle subsidy

All optometrists and ophthalmologists registered with Enable New Zealand have the required forms you will need to sign.

The optometrist or ophthalmologist will submit the request for you directly to Enable New Zealand.

Once Enable New Zealand has received your subsidy request, the approved subsidy will be paid directly to the optometrist or ophthalmologist. Anything over the threshold amount available will need to be paid directly by you to the optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Contact Enable New Zealand

If you have any questions about the spectacle subsidy, please contact Enable New Zealand:

You can also find more detailed information on the Enable website: Request Whaikaha children's spectacle subsidy services external URL