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GOC facts

Our work
Registration
Funding
People
What we can comment on
What we can provide

 

 Our work

  • The General Optical Council (GOC) is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. 
     
  • We currently register approximately 30,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses. 
     
  • The GOC was established in 1958 by a piece of legislation known as the Opticians Act (sometimes referred to as ‘the Act’). 
     
  • Our powers and duties are given to us by Parliament in the Act. 
     
  • We have four core functions:
    1. Setting the standards for optical education and training, performance and conduct.
    2. Approving qualifications leading to registration.
    3. Maintaining a register of individuals who are qualified and fit to practise, train or carry on business as optometrists and dispensing opticians.
    4. Investigating and acting where a registrant’s fitness to practise, train, or carry on business is impaired. 
     
  • Our mission is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education and conduct amongst opticians.
     
  • We are an independent national regulator. We are not part of the Department of Health or the Government. We are not a professional body.

Registration

 

  • Optometrists and dispensing opticians must register with us to be able to practise. If they do not, they are breaking the law and may be prosecuted.
     
  • Optometry and dispensing optics students in the UK must also register with us. Unregistered students who carry out restricted acts (eg testing sight) may face prosecution.
     
  • Bodies corporate using protected titles must also register with the GOC.

Funding

People

  • Our Chair is Gareth Hadley 
     
  • Our Registrar and Chief Executive is Lesley Longstone. 
     
  • There are 12 members of Council.

We can comment on:

  • The regulation of optometrists dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses, and other healthcare regulation issues. 
     
  • The regulation of the sale and supply of spectacles and contact lenses.

We can provide: 

  • A spokesperson to provide expert comment on optical issues eg nutrition and the eye, UV damage to eyesight.
     
  • Certain types of statistics about the Opticians registers eg the number of students, optometrists and so on. 

Please note: We do not hold statistics relating to eye tests. 
 

Content Panels

Search our registers

Search our registers

Find a registered individual practitioner or business.

Hearings

Hearings

Information about our upcoming fitness to practise hearings.

Press releases

Press releases

Read the latest news from the GOC

Patient leaflets

Patient leaflets

We provide various leaflets and booklets for optical patients