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 £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 scheme is competitive. Not everyone who applies will receive a bursary. The Trustees are looking to help people who really want to build a career in eye health and would benefit from some extra financial support. Bursary winners will be notified and funds will be paid to them by 31 March in the year following application. If you have not heard back from us by this time, it means that your application has not been successful.

The next scheme will launch in November 2023. Applications must be submitted online.  Forms will be available on this page later in the year.

 The criteria for the scheme and the application form change each year.  The guidance notes from last year are provided below as an example.

Guidance Notes – Bursary Scheme 2022-23

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

“For my final year project, I decided to research the ocular pathophysiology of SARS-CoV2. 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, Bursary Winner, 2018

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