The College of Optometrists

The fitting process

Only optometrists, doctors and contact lens opticians may fit contact lenses.106, 107 
When fitting lenses you must:
  1. ensure the type and brand of lens and lens care regimen are suitable for the patient
  2. tell the patient how to wear the lenses safely and how to look after them hygienically
  3. record any information or advice you have given the patient, and
  4. recommend a wearing schedule that is in line with manufacturer’s labelling instructions.
You should:
  • determine and advise on the length of the fitting period. This should be long enough for you to be satisfied that the patient has adapted to the lenses and that there is unlikely to be any change in the patient’s ocular health. This will be when you decide that the patient does not need any contact lens check-ups, other than those scheduled routinely. The fitting period will usually be less than three months, and can vary depending on:
    • lens type
    • how quickly the patient adapts to the lenses
    • the likelihood of a change in the patient’s ocular health, and
    • other clinical findings
  • tell the patient if the fitting will take longer than expected and record the reasons for this on the patient record.
When the fitting is complete, you must give the patient their contact lens specification.108
You should not fit yourself with contact lenses because you cannot conduct the appropriate examinations on yourself.
After fitting powered or zero powered contact lenses you must explain to the patient and provide written information on the care, wearing, treatment, cleaning and maintenance of the lenses.109, 110
You must tell the patient how to:
  • insert and remove their lenses
  • care, store, treat, disinfect and clean the lenses, and
  • schedule the wearing of lenses
You should tell the patient to seek professional advice:
  • if they experience discomfort, redness, watering, visual disturbance or other problems
  • before changing to a solution which has not been recommended by you, or
  • before accepting a supply of substitute lenses.


106  Opticians Act 1989 s25(1)
107 General Optical Council (1985) Rules on the fitting of contact lenses [Accessed 27 Oct 2017]
108 Opticians Act 1989 s25(5)(a)
109 Opticians Act 1989 s25(5)(b)
110 Council Directive 93/42/EEC concerning medical devices [1993] OJ L169/1 [Accessed 27 Oct 2017]

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