The extension of services is to include employees, the self-employed, and their dependent spouses or partners.
Minister McHugh has said that it's hoped this will encourage more working people to take better care of their health, in turn, driving down their health expenses in the longer run.
In addition to the free eye examinations announced earlier this year, the optical scheme will now cover the provision of glasses or provide a contribution towards contact lenses. Repairs to glasses are also covered under the extended scheme.
Meanwhile, included in the extension to the dental scheme, either an annual scale and polish or more extensive periodontal treatment if clinically required. These treatments will be available in addition to the free annual dental examination also announced in March this year.
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty has said there are currently more than 2.5 million qualified contributors.