The College of Optometrists

General points on consent – children and young people

The legal position concerning consent and refusal of treatment by those under the age of 18 is different from the position for adults. For the purposes of this guidance ‘child’ refers to someone aged below 16 and ‘young person’ refers to someone aged 16–17. At 16 a young person is presumed to have capacity. Children and young people cannot make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
You should involve children and young people as much as possible in discussions about their treatment, even if they are not able to make decisions on their own.212
You may provide emergency treatment to a child or young person, or refer them, without their consent, to save their life, or prevent serious deterioration in their health or vision.

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