UK optometrists given prescribing powers

October 1, 2007

Optometrists in the UK will soon be given the power to prescribe drugs for conditions such as dry eye.

Optometrists in the UK will soon be given the power to prescribe drugs for conditions such as dry eye.

Some optometrists are already able to write prescriptions but they are required to have them signed off by a doctor. The new legislation will allow them to prescribe drugs for dry eye and conjunctivitis without a doctor having to be involved, once they have undergone additional training.

Chairman of the British Medical Association's ophthalmic group committee, Rhod Daniel, believes that it is a good move that will reduce non-sight threatening referrals to eye hospitals and free up general practitioners' time for more urgent matters. However, he has also warned that it must be carefully monitored to ensure patient safety takes precedence over convenience and economic concerns.