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 relative or carer with a written, as well as a verbal, report.
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This guidance does not change what you must do under the law.
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The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Equality Act 2010 are particularly relevant to examining adult patients with learning difficulties.

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