Victorian Eyecare Service

The Victorian Eyecare Service (VES) is a State Government program providing low-cost eye care and visual aids (glasses, contact lenses) to people experiencing disadvantage or other barriers to eye care services. Together with the Department of Health, we work to ensure VES is available to those who need it.

The service provides:

  • Subsidised eye care services
  • Low-cost glasses or contact lenses
  • Victorian Aboriginal Spectacles Subsidy Scheme (VASSS)

In Melbourne, VES is available exclusively through the ACO’s fixed clinics.

For regional and rural services across Victoria, we coordinate with private optometry and ophthalmology clinics to ensure access is available throughout the state. While VES is not available in all rural locations, all VES eligible Victorians can access metropolitan services provided by the ACO.

About VES

VES is available for people who live in Victoria and meet one of the following criteria:

  • A current Pensioner Concession Card in their own name
  • A current Health Care Card in their own name or are listed on the Health Care Card as a dependent
  • A current Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) Gold Card in their own name
  • An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background (for the Victorian Aboriginal Spectacles Subsidy Scheme, which is a further subsidy under the VES)
  • Child protection involvement in their care
  • Refugees and/or seekers of asylum

VES may be available to people experiencing other types of disadvantage and barriers not included in the list above. These cases are assessed by the ACO on a case-by-case basis. To discuss your eligibility, please contact:

ACO Main Clinic – ca-reception@aco.org.au (Melbourne only)
VES Office – ves@aco.org.au (Regional and rural VIC)

To receive subsidised eye care services, glasses or contact lenses, eligible Victorians must attend a VES registered optometrists.

For people in Melbourne, book an appointment at your local ACO clinic.

For people in regional Victoria, find your closest VES optometrist and make an appointment. Remember to let the optometrist know you want to access the VES.

Remember to bring your Medicare card and Pensioner or Health Care Card (if applicable) to your appointment.

  1. VES benefits are only available to eligible patients.
  2. VES benefits are available only if glasses or a change of glasses is assessed by your optometrist as clinically necessary.
  3. There is a limit on the number of glasses you can receive under the VES. In a two-year period you can receive one pair of reading glasses plus one pair of distance glasses, OR one pair of progressive or bifocal glasses.
  4. Tints and photochromatic glass lenses are only available under the VES where there is a clear clinical need, determined by your optometrist.
  5. Photochromatic plastic lenses are not available under the VES.
  6. In most cases, anti-reflective, ultra-violet and anti-reflective are not subsidised under the VES, unless your optometrist considers this as clinically necessary.
  7. If you wish to use your current glasses frame it must be of assessed by your optometrist as being of suitable condition and quality to be used with new lenses.
  8. Lenses cannot be fitted to rimless or nylon rim frames under the VES.
  9. If you lose or break your VES glasses within two years, these can be replaced or repaired. A surcharge will charged to you. Please note that this is limited to one replacement every two years.

Victorian Aboriginal Spectacles Subsidy Scheme

The Victorian Aboriginal Spectacles Subsidy Scheme (VASSS) is administered by the Australian College of Optometry in partnership with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and a network of optometrists across Victoria.


You can choose from a range of metal and plastic frames approved by community Elders.  Depending on your prescription, single vision lenses for long distance and/or reading, bifocals or multi-focal lenses are available.

Please note: transition lenses and spare pairs are available at extra cost (ask your optometrist for details)

Just ask your:

  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHO)
  • Aboriginal Health Worker
  • Participating optometrists
  • Diabetes worker

Or call us on (03) 9349 7400

VASSS is available at all ACO clinic locations. Find your local clinic below.

The ACO partners with a number of reputable private optometry practices who will be able to assist you.

Check the directory to find your nearest VASSS optometrist.

Rural VES enquiries

If you would like further information about the VES in rural Victoria please contact us: