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  • You must not supply powered contact lenses without a valid specification.
  • Powered contact lenses may be supplied directly, or under your supervision or general direction.
  • You should not supply zero-powered contact lenses without a current specification.
  • Zero powered contact lenses may be supplied directly, or under your supervision, but not under your general direction.
  • You must make arrangements for a patient you supply with contact lenses to receive aftercare as far as, and for as long as, is reasonable.
A380
This Guidance does not change what you must do under the law.
A381
If you supply a contact lens you should ensure that it meets the specification. 
A382
If you supply a contact lens you must make arrangements for the patient to receive aftercare in so far as, and for as long as, may be reasonable.137
A383
You must give patients the same degree of care when supplying powered or zero powered (plano) contact lenses.
A384
Contact lenses may be supplied:138, 139
  1. directly by a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or doctor, or
  2. under their supervision, see paragraphs A393-A394, or
  3. for powered lenses only, if the patient is over 16, under the general direction of a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or doctor, see paragraphs A395-A398.
A385
You should be aware of the requirements of the method of supply for which you are responsible.
A386
You must not supply powered contact lenses to a patient who does not have a valid contact lens specification.

References

137 Opticians Act 1989 s27(3B) [Accessed 19 Nov 2020]
138 General Optical Council (2006) Statement on sale and supply of optical appliances [Accessed 19 Nov 2020 ]
139 Opticians Act 1989 s27(1)(b) and s27(3)(d) [Accessed 19 Nov 2020]
A387
You should check any details of the contact lens specification that are not clear or complete with the person who issued it. 
A388
You must provide enough information to the patient to enable them to handle the contact lenses appropriately and to comply with an appropriate lens care system.
A389
You should not supply the patient with more than the anticipated number of contact lenses needed before the expiry of the patient’s contact lens specification. 
A390
Since you must not supply powered contact lenses after the patient’s specification has expired you should advise the patient to have a contact lens fitting shortly before the expiry date, and an eye examination, if appropriate. See sections on Contact lens specification and Fitting contact lenses.
A391
If you are unable to supply contact lenses that exactly meet the patient’s specification, and you supply alternative contact lenses, you are refitting the contact lenses and the guidance in the section on Fitting contact lenses applies. A contact lens may be deemed to meet the specification if it is an identical contact lens made by the same manufacturer but sold under a different name to that stated on the specification. 
A392
Plano contact lenses may only be supplied by, or under the supervision of, a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or doctor.140, 141 They may not be supplied under the general direction of these practitioners.

References

140 Opticians Act 1989 s27(1)(b) [Accessed 19 Nov 2020]
141 General Optical Council (2006) Sales and supply of optical appliances [Accessed 25 Jan 2022]
A393
If you supervise someone who is supplying the contact lens you must ensure that: 
  1. there are written procedures in place to protect patients' health and safety
  2. they have full understanding of your respective roles and responsibilities
  3. they are trained in the procedures to be followed
  4. you are on the premises and can intervene in the supply, if necessary
  5.  you are in a position to exercise your professional skill and judgement as a clinician142 
  6. arrangements are made for the patient to receive aftercare in so far as, and for so long as, may be reasonable143 
  7. the audit trail is sufficient so that any errors that occur are drawn to your attention as the supervising optometrist.
A394
Anyone supplying contact lenses under your supervision should:  
  1. check that the contact lenses are for the correct person
  2. check that the specification is current and that the patient’s supply of  contact lenses will not take them past the expiry date of their specification
  3. check that the contact lenses that are supplied are those specified in the patient’s contact lens specification
  4. ensure the patient knows which contact lens is for which eye
  5. ensure the patient is given written information on care solutions and knows how to handle the contact lenses
  6. ensure the patient knows how often to replace their contact lenses
  7. reinforce the need for regular contact lens check-ups
  8. ensure adequate records are kept
  9. for zero powered contact lenses, ensure that the patient is fitted with contact lenses if they have no specification for the zero powered contact lenses.

References

142 General Optical Council v Vision Direct, 1989
143 Opticians Act 1989 s.27(3B) [Accessed 19 Nov 2020]
See section on Working with colleagues.
A395
You must have one of the following:
  1. the original specification
  2. a copy of the specification
  3. a written or electronic order from the patient, which contains the details that are in the specification.
A396
If you do not have the original specification, you must verify the details of the specification with the person who issued it.
A397
If you have someone acting under your general direction supplying contact lenses, you are not required to be on the premises while the sale takes place, but you should ensure that: 
  1. written protocols and robust procedures are in place for verification and supply and to protect patient health and safety
  2. the patient is not supplied with contact lenses which will take them past the expiry date of their specification
  3. you are a manager, or are in a position of authority to monitor the effectiveness of these protocols, and can make amendments to them if required
  4. there is an audit trail that can be followed
  5. the person conducting the supply is appropriately trained and they:
    • have working knowledge of the types of contact lenses available, the different care regimes and the replacement schedules for various lens types
    • can ensure that the contact lenses meet the specification
    • can advise the patient what to do if they suffer an adverse incident from the use of contact lenses or care solutions
    • tell the patient about the arrangements that are made for them to receive aftercare
  6. the person conducting the supply does not interpret or make judgements in relation to any clinical information in the specification and that they refer such matters to, and seek direction from, a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or doctor.
A398
Anyone supplying contact lenses under your general direction should:
  1. comply with paragraphs A393-A394
  2. ensure as far as is reasonable that the patient is not sight impaired, severely sight impaired or under 16
  3. ensure that any errors are drawn to your attention as the generally directing optometrist.
A399
You must make arrangements for the patient to receive aftercare as far as and for as long as may be reasonable. This applies to all patients you have supplied with powered or zero-powered contact lenses, whether directly or as a supervising or generally directing optometrist.
A400
If making arrangements includes making practical arrangements for aftercare with an appropriate provider, ensure that you advise your patient of any changes to this service.
A401
Aftercare arrangements and information should include: 
  1. whom the patient should contact, if they have problems associated with the supplied contact lenses
  2. signs or symptoms the patient should look out for
  3. the importance of having regular contact lens check-ups
  4. how to remove the contact lenses in an emergency
  5. having a local contact or helpline for advice
  6. monitoring whether aftercare arrangements are effective and work for the patient. This would include monitoring that the local contact or helpline is effective and that the emergency provisions are appropriate.