The College of Optometrists

The needs led examination

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Sub-sections

Key points

  • A needs led examination is one where the patient does not need a sight test as defined in law
  • There is no legal restriction on who can conduct a needs led examination
  • You must conduct appropriate tests relevant to the patient’s needs
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This Guidance does not change what you must do under the law.

Definition of a needs led examination

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A needs led examination is one where the patient does not need a sight test as defined in law (a statutory sight test) but has symptoms that would benefit from a clinical assessment and opinion. Examples would include minor eye conditions services (MECS), Eye Health Examination Wales (EHEW) or equivalent, follow-up appointments after a routine eye examination, assessment of patients for suspect glaucoma or ocular hypertension, or the co-management of a patient with another healthcare practitioner. See sections on Examining patents who present as an emergency, and Examining patients with flashes and floaters. (refer to COVID-19 guidance)
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Unlike the statutory sight test, there is no legal restriction on who can conduct a needs led examination.

Action to take

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If you conduct a needs led examination you must conduct the appropriate tests relevant to the patient’s needs28. You should make it clear to the patient that you are not conducting a full eye examination (sight test).
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You may charge an appropriate fee for needs led examinations unless you participate in an NHS- or government-funded scheme to see these patients.
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You must keep an adequate record of the consultation. See section on Patient records.

 

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