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Home Industry News Optometrists ‘to prescribe medication’

Optometrists ‘to prescribe medication’

29th August 2007

The government has announced the granting of independent prescribing powers to optometrists.

Under these proposals, patients will be able to be examined and diagnosed before being prescribed medication by their ophthalmic opticians in a single trip, without the need to arrange a separate appointment with their GP.

Optometrists are eye-health providers trained in both testing sight and the detection of eye diseases including glaucoma and macular degeneration.

This announcement was welcomed by the College of Optometrists, which reported that this expansion of prescribing powers for optometrists will develop their role in eye disease management.

Dawn Primarolo, public health minister, said: “Optometrists are trained eye health professionals.

“Enabling independent prescribing will not only allow them to make better use of their skills, but will also mean greater convenience for patients.”

She added that eye tests are vital for the maintenance of ocular health, while noting that a check up could potentially preserve sight in the most serious cases.

In January 2007, the government launched a toolkit for the commissioning of opthalmic services on the health service in the UK.

This move followed a recent Department of Health review concluding that there exists scope for more responsive services for patients with eye conditions including glaucoma.

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