A dispensing optician who recommended tinted lenses as a ‘treatment’ for patients with retinitis pigmentosa, brain injury and face blindness has received an order of erasure from the General Optical Council (GOC).
A GOC fitness to practise decision described how Ayr dispensing optician, Ian Jordan, worked at a practice that treated a “significant number” of children with developmental and learning difficulties.
Over a number of years Mr Jordan developed an interest in the provision of tinted lenses to patients, including those with behaviours characteristic of autism spectrum disorder.
The decision noted that this is a contentious area of practice, and the fitness to practise committee did not seek to take a position on the issue.
Instead the committee focused on Mr Jordan’s conduct in relation to the treatment he provided a series of mostly young patients between 2007 and 2012.
The decision explained that after patients were examined by an optometrist, Mr Jordan would conduct visual processing assessments using an orthoscopic read eye system, which is designed to identify the hue, saturation and brightness of a particular lens.
The fitness to practise committee found that Mr Jordan acted outside his scope of practice as a dispensing optician by diagnosing multiple patients with prosopagnosia (face blindness).
As well as recommending tinted lenses as a treatment for prosopagnosia, he gave the lenses to a patient with diplopia following a brain injury.
The decision noted that using tinted lenses to treat diplopia in a patient who has suffered a brain injury could be detrimental and conflict with the treatment plan developed by the patient’s ophthalmologist.
The committee described how Mr Jordan’s treatment of the patient, “is simply another example of his personal and professional over-confidence and his overall self-belief in the positive effect of his largely experimental practice.”
Mr Jordan also recommended tinted lenses for a patient with retinitis pigmentosa, a condition the committee noted results in irreversible cell death.
“Once the cells are dead, there is no evidence to suggest that they are capable of restoration,” the committee highlighted, before adding: “There was no scientific or any other appropriate basis for the registrant recommending tinted lenses to this patient.”
The committee found that Mr Jordan had failed to make adequate records, obtain informed consent and ensure his findings were reviewed by an optometrist. He also neglected to make appropriate referrals and provide adequate information about how to use the lenses as well as their risks and benefits.
In issuing a sanction, the committee considered suspension but took into account the fact that Mr Jordan had indicated that he would not comply with the order.
“This sanction may be appropriate where there is no evidence of a deep-seated attitudinal problem. That was not so in the registrant’s case,” the decision highlighted.
The committee considered erasure was the only available sanction that would protect patients, given his “inflated and unwarranted” assessment of his own professional abilities and consequent disregard for the scope of his practice and potential risks to patients.
An immediate suspension order is in place during the month that Mr Jordan has to appeal the substantive order of erasure.
GOC chief executive and registrar, Vicky McDermott, said she is aware of a petition that calls for Mr Jordan to be reinstated on the register.
“Such an option is not open to the council but the rules provide for an appeal against the decision by Mr Jordan if he wishes,” she shared.
“We have a robust and fair investigation process where both sides are able to present the independent committee with evidence to support their case. The committee made its decision after consideration of all the evidence presented to it. We have nothing further to add to the detailed reasoning already published by the committee,” Ms McDermott emphasised.
Colorimeter manufacturer, Cerium Visual Technologies, has sought to clarify that Mr Jordan is not a Cerium customer and does not practise ‘intuitive colorimetry’.
“Those who over-claim the benefits from coloured filters undermine the very real benefits coloured filters can offer to some patients,” the statement read.
“Cerium always encourage a responsible assessment protocol, and central to this is accurate and fully-informed patient consent. We remain committed to furthering the cause of colorimetry by encouraging best practice. Colorimetry using the Intuitive Colorimeter is available strictly under the auspices of a qualified optometrist,” the statement concluded.