Student Bursaries and Ophthalmologist Awards


In 4 years, we’ve helped more than 75 young people embark on training as orthoptists, dispensing opticians & optometrists.

In 2021, the scheme was expanded to cover students in any year of diploma or undergraduate study, enrolled on a recognised course at Level 4 or above leading to a career in eye health. 

The scheme is competitive and applications can only be accepted in the prescribed form during the application period from October to December each year.  Guidance for 2022/23 will appear here in late November 2022.

We are sorry but we cannot consider emails or letters asking for help or hardship grants outside the terms of the bursary scheme and we will not be able to answer questions about the 2022/23 bursary scheme. Once the Trustees have set the criteria, full details will be sent to all academic departments across the UK and published on this webpage.

Information on the bursary scheme is distributed via all universities and optical training institutions in the UK, as well as being advertised here on the website and on Twitter (@spectaclemakers).

Ophthalmologist Awards

The Spectacle Makers’ Charity has a Professional Development Award Scheme (previously the Travel Award Scheme) for ophthalmologists in training. This is the way we help ophthalmologists who are postgraduate, qualified doctors studying in the UK and who would not qualify for our undergraduate bursary scheme.

We will consider making awards worth 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.

As worldwide travel is restricted, it is unlikely that travel awards will be available for some months, but we will open this up as soon as international conferences are accepting papers. In the meantime we will consider similar requests for support in publishing and disseminating research or taking up international fellowships which do not attract a full time salary.

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.

If you would like to apply, please fill in our application form by clicking here.

“For my final year project, I decided to research the ocular pathophysiology of SARS-CoV2. I’ve been 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 Bains

Bursary Winner 2018