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  • You must provide the patient with a written specification of each powered contact lens when you have completed the fitting.
  • College members may use the College's sample specification and the form of words reminding patients about regular check-ups.
  • You should provide a written specification after fitting a patient with zero-powered lenses.
  • You must include the expiry date on the contact lens specification.
  • You should use your professional judgement to determine the expiry date.
  • You must not supply patients with contact lenses after their specification has expired.
  • Patients may buy their contact lenses from any supplier, as long as the sale is by, or under the supervision or general direction of, a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or doctor.
  • A supplier of contact lenses may ask you to verify the particulars of the patient’s specification. If any of the details are incorrect, you need the patient’s consent to give any information to the supplier.
A361
This Guidance does not change what you must do under the law.
A362
Must provide the patient with a signed, written specification of each powered contact lens once you have completed the fitting.132
A363
The specification must contain key information, including:133
  1. the patient’s name and address
  2. the patient’s date of birth, if they are under 16 on the day the specification is issued
  3. your name and GOC number
  4. your practice name and address
  5. the date you completed the fitting
  6. sufficient details of any contact lens fitted to enable the lens to be replicated. This would normally include some or all of the following information:
    • power
    • base and peripheral curves of the lens
    • total diameter
    • material
    • design (including details of the generic brand) of the contact lens(es)
  7.  the date the specification expires
  8. any clinical information that should be taken into account by a supplier.
A364
You may also include:
  1. details of any specific care products that you recommend the patient uses
  2. the approximate frequency with which the patient wears the lenses so that a supplier can determine how long the supply will last the patient.
A365
If you are a member, you can use the College’s sample contact lens specification.134
A366
You should only sign a duplicate specification if you are an optometrist or a contact lens optician.

References

132 Opticians Act 1989 s25(5) [Accessed 19 November 2020]
133 Contact lens (specification) rules 1989 SI 791 [Accessed 19 Nov 2020]
134 The College of Optometrists (2007) Contact lens specification form [Accessed 19 Nov 2020]
A367
You should give a patient a written specification after fitting them with a plano contact lens. You are not legally required to do this, but it is in the patient’s best interests that you do. You should provide the same information as stated for powered lenses.
A368
You must include an expiry date on the contact lens specification.135 
A369
You should use your professional judgement to decide the expiry date, which would normally be when the patient is due their next clinical review. See section on Contact lens check-ups.
A370
Factors to consider when you determine the expiry date include: 
  1. the type of contact lens
  2. modality of wear
  3. the clinical features of the patient.
A371
If the expiry date and the next clinical review date are not the same, you should include both dates on the specification.
A372
You should tell the patient when their next clinical review is due.
A373
You should tell patients that they cannot be supplied with contact lenses once their contact lens specification has expired. The patient  must be refitted before the specification expires to ensure an uninterrupted supply of contact lenses. See section on Contact lens supply for more information and details of aftercare. 
A374
You should tell patients that: 
  1. it is important to have regular eye examinations as well as contact lens check-ups
  2. they need a valid spectacle prescription to be refitted with contact lenses.

References

135 Opticians Act 1989 s25(7a)  [Accessed 19 Nov  2020] 
A375
Patients may buy their contact lenses from any supplier, as long as the sale is by, or under the supervision of (for powered or zero-powered lenses) or general direction of (for powered lenses), a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or doctor (refer to COVID-19 guidance).
A376
You should make your patients aware that if contact lenses only are supplied, this may not include contact lens check-ups, although the supplier must make arrangements for the patient to receive aftercare so far as, and for as long, as may be reasonable.136  If your patient buys their contact lenses from abroad, the supplier will not have this obligation. You should warn them that they must seek professional advice if they have problems and they will probably be charged a fee for this advice.
A377
If you are a College member, you can use the following statement on your contact lens specification, or as part of a practice notice to alert your patients to the importance of having regular check-ups. 

'As someone who wears contact lenses you need continuing professional care to make sure your contact lenses are right for your eyes, now and in the future. It is most important that you ensure that you have regular check-ups and understand what to do in the event of anything going wrong with your eyes or your contact lenses. 

You should be clear whether the amount you pay includes extra consultations if you have any problems and how much they will cost if they are not included.'
A378
As the fitting practitioner, you may be asked by a contact lens supplier to verify the particulars of the patient’s specification. You should ask the supplier to state in writing the details they require, if the patient consents. You should keep a record of these requests and, if you have concerns about the number of verification requests you are receiving, you should alert the supplier. See sections on Consent and Patient records with reference to transferring patient information to a third party. 
A379
If a supplier contacts you to verify a specification and all the details are correct, you may answer ‘yes’ but say no more without the patient’s consent. If any of the details are incorrect, you need the patient’s consent to give any information to the supplier. 

References

136 Opticians Act 1989 s27(3B) [Accessed 19 Nov 2020]