Combined refraction and eye health check vital to better patient outcomes and care delivery in optics

AOP members speak out on the future of sight testing as the GOC’s call for evidence continues

Members of the Association of Optometrists (AOP) have indicated their overwhelming support for maintaining a combined approach to refraction and the eye health check, currently forming the sight test. 

The insight comes as part of the AOP’s work to find out and put forward the views of its members in response to the General Optical Council’s (GOC) call for evidence on the Opticians Act.

In March, the regulator launched the 16-week call for evidence, with sight testing duties and six other topics open to consultation.

Registrants, sector bodies, employers, patients, and the public have all been asked to contribute to a body of evidence that will respond to potential legislative changes to the Act.

To inform its response, the AOP asked members to share their views on the sight test – refraction and eye health check via its community forum online. The topic received a high number of responses that asked for the current system to be upheld, with AOP members citing ‘protecting the public,’ ‘the increased risk of missed pathology,’ and maintaining ‘high professional standards,’ as key factors.

Carolyn Ruston, Policy Director for the AOP said: “We are delighted to see such a high level of engagement from our members and it’s reassuring to see that feedback aligns with our emerging position to what is a really significant consultation for the profession. Any proposed changes to the Opticians Act as a result of this consultation should be based on a strong patient benefit or need. Maintaining the appropriate legal restrictions on sight testing is vital to better care outcomes – ensuring eye disease is detected and referred where needed.

“We want to thank everyone who has contributed so far and encourage all our members to continue to get involved,” Ms Ruston added.

The GOC’s call for evidence also includes views on the protection of title and restricted activities, remote care, and the regulation of businesses. The review is also seeking evidence on the sale of supply of optical appliances and the fitting of contact lenses.

To support members’ understanding of the consultation’s aim and significance, the AOP has created frequently asked questions, where members can learn more about the topics, what the AOP is doing and how to get involved.

The call for evidence will close on 18 July 2022 and submissions to the consultation can be made online.


For more information, please contact Serena Box, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2040.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 82% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit