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Optical appliance prescription guidelines revised

22/03/2017
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The Optometry Board of Australia, the national optometry regulator, has published revised guidelines on the prescription of optical appliances by optometrists.
Ian Bluntish, Optometry Board of Australia chair
Ian Bluntish, Optometry Board of Australia chair

The revised guidelines were approved by the board in March and come into effect on 1 June 2016.

The guidelines are a useful tool for registered optometrists, reflect current practices and expectations, and are suitable for use in clinical, educational and regulatory contexts.

Optometry Board of Australia chair Mr Ian Bluntish said the new guidelines were more flexible and user-friendly for optometrists.

“The revised guidelines strike a better balance between protecting the public and the professional obligations of the practitioner to adhere to best practice in the prescription of optical appliances,” he explained. “They provide greater flexibility and clarity for the optometrist regarding the preparation and supply of a prescription, and have been reworded to be simpler and clearer.”

The guidelines define who may prescribe optical appliances as set out by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

The term ‘optical appliance’ includes prescription sunglasses, spectacles with prism, and low-vision devices such as magnifiers, binocular telescopes, monocular telescopes, electronic magnification devices, and plano cosmetic and novelty contact lenses.

The guidelines provide information for optometrists on the preparation and supply of spectacle and contact lens prescriptions, and outline the optometrists’ responsibilities.

To ensure that the guidelines were developed with feedback from practitioners and stakeholders, the board conducted a public consultation in September 2015.

It was noted that due to the fact that there had been no major compliance issues in relation to the guidelines, they had not been changed significantly as a result of the consultation.

The previous guidelines had been in place for over three years and were updated as a result of a scheduled review.

The revised guidelines are available via optometryboard.gov.au

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