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Standards for optometrists and dispensing opticians

 

Standards

GOC standards of Practice for optometrists and dispensing opticiansWe have a statutory duty to set the standards of practice expected of optometrists and dispensing opticians. Our Standards of Practice define the standards of behaviour and performance we expect of all registered optometrists and dispensing opticians. 

As a healthcare professional you have a responsibility to ensure the care and safety of your patients and the public and to uphold professional standards. 

The new Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians came in to effect on 1 April 2016, replacing the previous Code of Conduct for Individual Registrants. This document sets out the nineteen standards that optical professionals must meet. These standards are not listed in order of priority and include standards relating to behaviour and performance.

Acrobat Reader icon Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians

This video explains more about the new Standards:

 

Guidance

We also produce further guidance on complex areas of practice or the law to assist registrants in applying their professional judgement to meet the standards. Our list of guidance is provided below.

Reporting concerns (whistleblowing)

All healthcare professionals have a duty to report concerns about patient safety and quality care.  Further information can be found in the Professional Standard's Authority cross-regulatory statement on whistleblowing below. 

  Acrobat Reader icon PSA whistleblowing statement

If you have concerns about the fitness to practise of an optometrist , dispensing optician or optical student, then you should report this to the General Optical Council - details of how to report can be found here.

Duty of candour

All healthcare professionals should be open and honest when things go wrong.  Patients should know what happened, be offered an apology and be informed of what action is being taken to put things right.  For further information, please read our joint statement on duty of candour which was produced with other regulators.

 

Restricted Practice

Certain areas of practice are restricted by legislation and rules.  Listed below are the key areas that may affect your day to day practice.

  • Sight test
  • Sale and supply of optical appliances
  • Fitting of contact lenses
  • Cosmetic (zero-powered) contact lenses
  • Low vision aids
  • Fluorescein

Sight Test

The testing of sight is restricted to optometrists and doctors in the UK.  The compenents of the Sight Test are also defined by legislation and further details can be found in the following legislation:

Acrobat Reader icon Sight testing (examination and prescription) no.2 regulations 1989 .

Optometry students may also test sight in certain circumstances as part of their training course and this is defined under the following legislation:  

Acrobat Reader icon Testing of sight by persons training as an optometrist rules 1993

Sale and supply of optical appliances

The sale and supply of optical appliances is limited to certain groups of people and businesses.  Please read our statement here:

Acrobat Reader icon Statement on sale and supply of optical appliances

Fitting of contact lenses

The fitting of contact lenses is restricted to certain groups of registrants and requires specific qualifications and continuing education and training (CET).  Further information can be found in the following legislation:

Acrobat Reader icon Rules on the fitting of contact lenses 1985

Cosmetic (zero-powered) contact lenses

The sale of cosmetic or zero-powered contact lenses is governed by legislation.  For further details of this, please read our statement here:

Acrobat Reader icon Cosmetic or zero-powered contact lenses guidance

Low vision aids

Low vision aids are restricted by legislation.  Please read our statement here:

Acrobat Reader icon Statement on low vision aids

Fluorescein

We issued a statement clarifying the circumstances in which optometrists and contact lens opticians can use CE-marked fluorescein ophthalmic strips.

Acrobat Reader icon Statement on Fluorescein

 

FGM Mandatory Reporting Professional Duty 

 

As of 31 October 2015, the Department of Health has issued a duty for all healthcare professionals to report any case of female genital mutilation in girls (FGM) under the age of 18 to the police. Please find guidance on this below, or visit the Department's website where you can also find a video guide to the Duty:

 

Acrobat Reader icon FGM guidance

Acrobat Reader icon FGM information poster

Acrobat Reader icon FGM training slides