The PRSI Treatment Benefit Scheme and Medical Cards allow thousands of eligible people access to free or discounted eye and ear care services. 

The Treatment Benefit Scheme is run by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and provides optical and hearing services to insured workers, the self-employed and retired people who have met the required number of PRSI contributions — these benefits are also available for spouses. 

Medical Cards are issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and allow the holder to receive certain health services free of charge, including hearing care benefits (through your GP & the HSE Community Audiology Service) and eye care services (through opticians).

Take a look at our advice pages for claiming free hearing aids with PRSI and claiming a free eye test and glasses under both PRSI and Medical Cards schemes.

PRSI and the Treatment Benefit Scheme

Under this scheme the Department of Social Protection (DSP) offers¹:

  • Eye test once every two years
  • €42 once every two years towards new glasses
  • At Specsavers you can put your PRSI contributions towards our 2 for 1 glasses offer and get two pairs of single-vision lenses from €58.
  • Half the cost (up to €500) towards contact lenses if needed on medical grounds (this applies to a small number of eye conditions that make wearing glasses impossible) provided you have a GP’s recommendation.
  • The full cost of a hearing aid, up to a maximum of €1,000 for a pair,  once every four years. 
  • The full cost of repairs to aids, up to a maximum of €100, once every four years.

How to apply

Claims are made through your optician or audiologist (depending on the required treatment). They can check your entitlement in advance of any treatment and claim payment afterwards.

At Specsavers, you can simply give your PPS number (found on your payslip or tax documents) at the time of booking your appointment whether this is online or via phone. 

Book your appointment here

To find out more about the PRSI and the eligibility criteria for the Treatment Benefit Scheme, visit our dedicated page.

What is PRSI?

Medical Cards

Medical card holders and their dependents are entitled to a number of discounted or free of charge services including ear and eye care: ²,³

  • Eye test once every two years (more often if required in certain medical circumstances)
  • €42  once every two years towards new glasses 
  • If you have PRSI benefits, you could be entitled to a free of charge hearing aid from the Community Audiology Service as mentioned above.
  • If you have a Medical Card, you could be entitled to free audiology services through being referred to the HSE Community Audiology Service by your GP. Also hearing aid repairs and servicing for hearing aids provided by the Community Audiology Service.
  • And a replacement hearing aid after two years unless your hearing aid is damaged or broken, in which case you can get a replacement before the end of the two-year period

How to apply

To apply for a Medical Card you need to send a Medical Card application form to the Client Registration Unit (CRU). This process can be done completely online, or you can download the form and post it, or alternatively, you can get the application form from your local health centre or Local Health Office.

At Specsavers, once you have your Medical Card, you will need to come into the store to complete an application form to claim for a free eye test. We’ll send the form off to the HSE for authorisation and, once this is approved, you can book your free eye test. Find out more information on this process below:

Claim for a free eye test with medical cards

To find out more information about Medical Cards, including the eligibility criteria and answers to frequently asked questions, visit our dedicated page.

What are medical cards?

What are medical cards?
PRSI and the Treatment Benefit Scheme
Free eye test and glasses with PRSI
Free hearing aids with PRSI
  1. Citizens Information. (29/03/2021). Treatment Benefit Scheme. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 08/10/2021]
  2. Citizens Information. (15/07/2019). Optometric and ophthalmic services. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 08/10/2021]
  3. Citizens Information (11/12/2017). Audiology services. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 08/10/2021]