The College of Optometrists

Key points

  • Patients with learning disabilities may have additional ocular conditions and other health problems.
  • You should use tests and procedures that are appropriate to the patient’s needs.
  • You must follow the guidance on consent when discussing the patient’s condition with a relative or carer.
  • When you communicate with the patient, you should talk directly to them rather than their carer.
  • If possible, in advance of the appointment, you should discuss with the patient and their relative or carer what adjustments may be needed to help them understand information and participate in the examination.
  • You should provide the patient and their relative or carer with a written, as well as a verbal, report.
This guidance does not change what you must do under the law.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Equality Act 2010 are particularly relevant to examining adult patients with learning disabilities.

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