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Professional Bodies responses to GOC consultation on contact lens care

AOP responds to GOC consultation on contact lens care

The regulator is reviewing the process for verifying contact lens specifications and the definition of patient aftercare 

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) broadly welcomes this latest consultation by the General Optical Council (GOC) which looks at the process for verifying contact lens specification and how aftercare is defined.

Carolyn Ruston, AOP Policy Director said: “We are pleased to see that the GOC is actively engaging with the profession on the issue of supply and patient aftercare for contact lenses. We can see that the consultation directly responds to feedback the AOP expressed as part of the GOC’s wider call for evidence on the Opticians Act in 2022.

“The AOP will be responding in line with our previous submission to the GOC and we welcome its commitment to a consultation process before any changes are implemented.”

The AOP has recently published guidance on the rules and regulations around fitting and supply of contact lenses as part of its Safe practice series for members.

Compiled by the AOP’s clinical and regulatory experts, the guidelines explain where the rules are clear and also where practitioners may use their professional judgement.

The guidelines cover areas such as:

  • Advice on managing appointments
  • What constitutes a contact lens ‘fitting’
  • Clarity on when it is appropriate to take payment, particularly if you are supplying “trial” lenses
  • When the specification can be issued and who has a right to have a copy
  • Aftercare and re-fitting: understanding these terms and what they entail
  • The rules on substitution: both complete changes of lenses and temporary supply for particular reasons
  • Good record keeping.

The new guidance Safe practice: contact lenses is available from the AOP website.

ABDO response to the GOC contact lens consultation  

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) welcomes the General Optical Council (GOC) consultation on the definition of contact lens aftercare and verification of contact lens specifications.

The GOC has announced its latest consultation following its call for evidence on the Opticians Act in 2022. At that time, the GOC sought views on the need to verify a copy of a contact lens specification and has now taken the draft position that verification is no longer necessary “provided that the specification is clear, does not contain any obvious errors and has not obviously been tampered with”.

Alongside this, the GOC is seeking stakeholders’ views on an updated definition of aftercare. The draft statement says that the GOC is seeking to ensure that a “definition of aftercare should be provided that gives sufficient detail to ensure the public is protected”.

The consultation will close on 24 October 2023 and ABDO is seeking members views’ and input into an ABDO response.

ABDO clinical lead Max Halford said, “We welcome the GOC consultation following our submission to the original call for evidence, and this opportunity to feedback on the draft GOC position before changes are implemented.

“We are seeking feedback from ABDO members’ who will have valuable insight into how changes to both verification and the definition of aftercare affect the patients we provide clinical care for in practices.

“Many of our members will have experience of concerns following online supply of contact lenses with no guidance for aftercare, alongside demands to verify contact lens prescriptions, and we are keen to work with the GOC to ensure the highest standards of protection for our patients and guidelines for dispensing opticians.”

 

 

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