The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers


Since we launched our bursary scheme, we’ve helped more than 125 people starting their journeys as orthoptists, clinical technicians, dispensing opticians & optometrists.

The bursaries are worth up to £1,000 each.

You are eligible to apply if you are in any year of diploma or undergraduate study in the UK, on a recognised course at Level 4 or above which is designed to lead directly to a career in eye health. This includes apprenticeships at Level 4 or above in ophthalmic clinical support and ophthalmic imaging; degrees in optometry; degrees in ophthalmic nursing; and diplomas involving block release or blended learning alongside paid work.

We do not award bursaries for post-graduate Master’s or PhD level studies.

The criteria and questions on the application form change every year. The Trustees ask for information about your motivation to study, the decisions you have made so far and an idea of your budget, to try and identify those candidates who could benefit most from a little extra financial support to support their studies. General statements like "studying costs more than I expected" or "my food and rent bills have gone up this year" will not give the Trustees enough information to explain why you really deserve their help. The more detail you can give about the costs you need to cover, the most likely you are to succeed in your application. 

It's also important to note that the Charity's bursaries are intended to help people achieve a professional goal. In the past successful bursary winners have asked for help with many different things  - equipment, laptops, books, travel, accommodation or childcare costs, driving lessons - even a new pair of spectacles. In each case they were able to put the costs into context and say why a bursary would make such a difference to their student experience.  

Of course we understand that students will have personal costs too but the Trustees will not make grants to students who ask for money for gym memberships, holidays, hairdressing, wedding expenses, or for personal gifts to charity or family members.

We typically receive 10 applications for each grant we can make, so it is worth spending time on your application when the time comes.

Applications for the bursary scheme for 2023/24 closed on 27 November 2023. The 2024/25 scheme will be announced on this page and on social media in November 2024.

We are sorry but we cannot consider emails or letters asking for help or hardship grants outside the terms of the bursary scheme.

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers

“In my final year project, I was able to utilise my bursary from the Spectacle Makers’ Charity toward my placement expenses, allowing me to concentrate on my studies. You have enabled and motivated me to become a competent clinician and make a significant impact to this field – thank you.”  Balpreet, Past Bursary Winner.

Professional Development Awards

The Spectacle Makers’ Charity also has a Professional Development Award Scheme for ophthalmologists in training and ophthalmic nurses, to help with the costs of presenting work and taking up short term fellowships outside the UK.

We will consider making awards of up to £1,000 to cover the costs of international fellowships or presenting research findings via posters or presentations at national and international conferences such as ARVO, ESCRS etc. which would involve significant personal expense.

Award winners in this programme must provide written reports on their progress and must acknowledge the Charity’s help in social media posts and on the face of papers/presentations. The Charity Trustees will take a continuing interest in their future careers and award winners are warmly invited to join the Spectacle Makers’ Company, the oldest optical organisation in the world.

To apply for a professional development award, please fill in the online application form by clicking on the link HERE