Contact lens service

Our contact lens service is for patients who require contact lenses following a referral from their eye doctor (ophthalmologist). 

The service is based at the Royal Free Hospital, and patients will be under the care of a team of specialist optometrists (clinical professionals who specialise in the care of eyes). The service aims to improve your vision with the fitting of specialist lenses and provides ongoing check ups to ensure your prescription and fit is correct.

What happens following my contact lens referral?

Fitting lenses requires a series of three initial appointments:

  1. Contact lens fit appointment
  2. Teaching and handling appointment
  3. Contact lens aftercare appointment.

Read more about what to expect in your contact lens appointments in our leaflet.

Eligibility for contact lenses

Contact lenses are provided at the Royal Free Hospital when there is a medical need. Usually this is when vision cannot be improved with glasses but can be with contact lenses. We must receive a referral from your ophthalmologist at the Royal Free London, which will be reviewed by the specialist optometrists to ensure there is a clinical need for contact lenses.

We prescribe and fit contact lenses for a range of medical eye conditions, such as keratoconus, corneal distortion or scarred/white corneas. We also treat patients with very high prescriptions (eg over +10.00DS or -15.00DS), to relieve pain or for cosmetic reasons if your eye has damage (eg from infection or trauma).

We cannot fit contact lenses if normal vision can be obtained with glasses. You will need to go to your own optician for this. 

Paying for your contact lenses

The lenses cost £57 per lens and can last for a year. There may be cases where your contact lens will need replacing every six months. Statutory NHS patient charges or exemptions arrangements apply and are updated annually on 1 April each year. The current prices are available from the contact lens clinic. If you require replacement lenses or a lens breaks outside the three-month manufacturer’s warranty period, the same charges apply as for your first pair of lenses (this does not affect your statutory rights). Please note that lenses will not be ordered until payment or proof of exemption has been seen. 

Please read our leaflet for further information.

Useful downloads

Contact lens service information leaflet