There are two eye-care schemes which are paid by the State:
People who hold a valid full medical card (not a GP visit card) and those with a Health Amendment Act Card- are entitled to an eye examination once every two years, or more often if there is a clinical reason requiring this.
There is also an allowance towards the cost of spectacles that is designed to cover the cost of the most basic spectacles.
For those qualified PRSI entitled persons, the benefit allows a free eye examination once every two years, or more often if there is a clinical reason requiring this. There are a scale of allowances for spectacles, but the Minister for Social Protection has suspended payment of these allowances towards spectacles since the 2008 budget. They have not been abolished, just suspended until further notice.
If you think that you may be entitled to a free eye-examination, contact your local optometrist who will be able to check to see if you are covered.