20 September 2019

College of Optometrists launches new animation explaining the role of the optometrist

College promotes optometry to mark National Eye Health Week.

The College of Optometrists has launched a new animation to explain the role of an optometrist in advance of National Eye Health Week 2019. The short animation describes the optometrist’s role in checking eye, and general, health as well as dispensing spectacles and contact lenses for vision correction. 

Clinical Adviser for the College of Optometrists, Dr Susan Blakeney FCOptom says: “We hope our animation will help people understand the important role optometrists have in eye health and the variety of settings in which they work: in the community, hospitals, research, and the home. As always, if you are having any problems with your vision between check-ups, visit your local optometrist. You can find your local optometrist using our member directory on our website LookAfterYourEyes.org” 

With the UK’s ageing population the incidence of certain eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration1  and glaucoma2 is increasing. Optometrists are increasingly playing a key role in managing patients in the community, taking pressure off hospital services and being more convenient for patients.

The College has also developed a poster outlining which professionals a patient is likely to encounter during a visit to an optometric practice

What is an optometrist? 

Optometrists examine eyes and prescribe and fit spectacles and contact lenses.  They are trained to assess the health of your eyes, and may work in a hospital or community setting.  If your optometrist suspects you may have a health problem either with your eyes or elsewhere in your body they may refer you to another healthcare professional, such as a specialist optometrist, your GP or a specialist eye doctor called an ophthalmologist. 

Optometrists study at university for at least three years and must participate in a period of supervised, practical clinical training, before being assessed on the knowledge and skills they need to be registered with the General Optical Council. Once registered, they have the opportunity to take further qualifications and develop their interests in specialist areas of practice.

All optometrists practising in the UK must be registered with the General Optical Council, the profession’s regulatory body. When choosing an optometrist, look for the letters FCOptom or MCOptom after their name. It means that the optometrist is a fellow or member of the College and adheres to high standards of clinical practice. 

Further information and advice to help look after your eyes can be found on The College of Optometrists’ public website, Look After Your Eyes.

1  Macular Society
2  Royal College of Ophthalmologists


Note to editors

The College of Optometrists is the professional body for optometry. We qualify the profession and deliver the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, health services, and health care professionals.

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