Independent prescribing (IP) qualification

Qualifying in independent prescribing brings new opportunities for you and your practice.

Optometrists with an independent prescribing (IP) qualification are able to clinically assess a patient, establish a diagnosis, determine the clinical management required and prescribe where necessary. Once qualified you may prescribe any licensed medicine (except for controlled drugs or medicines for parenteral (injected) administration) for conditions affecting the eye, and the tissues surrounding the eye, within your recognised area of expertise and competence. You will be able to prescribe privately and, where suitable arrangements have been made, write an NHS prescription. 

You will be able to boost your confidence and ability in managing acute eye conditions and add variety to your role. You can follow new career paths and take on more responsibility in practice or within a hospital clinic. You will be able to manage a range of conditions in practice, so your patients don’t need to be referred to hospital - helping you to attract new patients and building loyalty. 

To qualify in Independent Prescribing you must: 

  • be a registered optometrist
  • have been practising in the UK and registered with the GOC for two full years before beginning the clinical placement
  • train in competencies which focus on the consultation, prescribing effectively and prescribing in context.

Regulations around the Independent Prescribing qualification as a whole are detailed in the GOC IP Handbook

COVID-19 - arrangements for final assessment

As a result of COVID-19, all Final Assessment examinations are now delivered and invigilated remotely through TestReach. For dates and times of future sittings, please visit the examinations page.

Any independent prescribing trainee who is concerned that they may not be able to start their clinical placement within two years of finishing their university course should contact our education team.

The three stage qualification process

1. Attend a course 

2. Undertake a clinical placement 

3. The examination