Optometrists and dispensing opticians must be registered with the General Optical Council (GOC) to practise in the UK.
The GOC publish registers of all optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians, and optical businesses who are qualified and fit to practise, train or carry on business.
What is an optometrist?
An optometrist examines eyes, tests sight and prescribes spectacles or contact lenses for those who need them. They also fit spectacles or contact lenses, give advice on visual problems and detect any ocular disease or abnormality, referring the patient to a medical practitioner if necessary.
Optometrists may also share the care of patients who have chronic ophthalmic conditions with a medical practitioner. Once qualified, optometrists can undertake further training to specialise in certain eye treatment by therapeutic drugs.
What is a dispensing optician?
A dispensing optician advises on, fits and supplies the most appropriate spectacles after taking account of each patient’s visual, lifestyle and vocational needs.
Dispensing opticians also play an important role in advising and dispensing low vision aids to those who are partially sighted and in advising on and dispensing to children where appropriate.
They are also able to fit and provide after-care for contact lenses after undergoing further specialist training. On completion, practitioners are placed onto a specialty register.
As the statutory regulator for the optical professions, the GOC require notification about matters relating to a registrant’s character, behaviour or judgement.
Registrants must declare all criminal convictions, cautions and disciplinary proceedings on their registration, retention and/or restoration form. This includes minor misdemeanors, but not road traffic offences dealt with by way of a fixed penalty notice.
All declarations are reviewed, in strict confidence, by the Registrar of the GOC. They are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. We are able to assist in the provision of information to the Registrar to demonstrate that you are fit to practise.
If a prospective registrant fails to declare any matter that subsequently comes to light, it could become a material consideration in a Fitness to Practise Hearing and GOC registration is likely to be refused.