Sale and supply of spectacles
- You must supervise unregistered persons in the sale of spectacles and other optical appliances to people in restricted groups.
- You must be on the premises at key stages of supervised sale and supply.
- You should make sure the spectacles you supply meet the patient’s needs.
- You should communicate clearly with the patient about the purpose, use and maintenance of their spectacles.
- You must make arrangements for patients to receive aftercare as far as and for as long as is reasonable.
- Requirements for sale and supply when the person is not present are the same as face-to-face sale and supply.
- You should only make up spectacles using prescriptions over two years old if it is in the patient’s best interests.
- Patients have a right to take their prescriptions elsewhere.
- Unregistered persons must not sell spectacles to children under 16 and patients who are registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired unless they are supervised by a registered practitioner.69 See sections on Supervising the sale and supply of spectacles and Working with colleagues.
69 Opticians Act 1989 s27(1)(b)
- All spectacles or other optical appliances should be sold and supplied by, or under the supervision of, an optometrist or dispensing optician, even if an unregistered person could legally complete the sale without supervision. You should decide what is in the best interests of the patient.
- When selling and supplying spectacles to a patient you should:
- explain clearly to the patient the purpose and function of the spectacles
- ensure the spectacles are suitable for the patient’s needs
- take and record facial, frame and other appropriate measurements before ordering the spectacles
- check that the spectacles are CE marked and conform to the relevant standards70
- check that the spectacles correspond to the written prescription or sight test record
- fit them to the patient to ensure the correct plane, height and position
- check them on the patient for fit, comfort and function, making any adjustments before the patient takes them away
- check against a letter chart or equivalent, where appropriate, to ensure correct acuity, and
- advise the patient on how to use and maintain the spectacles.
- You may make up spectacles without a prescription, for example by duplicating an existing pair of spectacles, if you feel this is in the patient’s best interests.
Please read in conjunction with section on Supervision in the Communication, partnership and teamwork domain.
- You may delegate the sale and supply of spectacles but you remain responsible for the whole process.
- You must be on the premises when you are supervising the sale of spectacles to someone in a restricted group (that is, patients under 16 or who are registered as visually impaired) at key stages of the sale.72
- If you are supervising someone undertaking the sale of spectacles to a patient you should ensure they have taken the steps listed in para A260.
- If you work in a team with others it should be clear on a daily basis which professional is responsible for the supervision of sale and supply. The practice should ensure that supervisors are in a position to fulfil their supervisory role.
72 GOC v Boots Opticians Ltd, Richard Simmons and Trevor Burgess 2009
- If you decide to make up spectacles for a patient who has not had a recent eye examination you should:
- only do this in exceptional circumstances, and
- act in the best interests of the patient.
73 Sale of optical appliances order of council 1984 [accessed 31 Oct 2013]
74 General Optical Council (2006) Statement on sale and supply of optical appliances [accessed 31 Oct 2013]
- You should not sell and supply spectacles without ensuring:
- that the patient’s measurements and visual needs have been assessed and verified, and
- that any optical appliance you supply meets these measurements and needs.
71 Opticians Act 1989 s27(3B)
- Patients have a right to have their prescriptions dispensed where they choose. You may advise your patients of the potential difficulties of separate prescribing and dispensing, particularly if they have a complicated prescription or lens form. The College has a suggested form of words which you may wish to use on your prescriptions:
'You have a right to have your prescription dispensed wherever you choose. However, as prescribing and dispensing of spectacles are closely linked it is best to have your spectacles dispensed where you have your eyes examined. It is often more difficult to resolve any problems you may have with your spectacles when prescribing and supply are separated.'
- If you assemble spectacles you must register with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).75 This applies to:
- practices that carry out their own glazing
- practices where the frame is traced and lenses edged remotely, prior to assembly in the practice, and
- new products and does not relate to reglazing patients’ own frames.
75 MHRA Registration of medical devices [accessed 31 Oct 2013]