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Frequency of contact lens checks

U2.7.10 Frequency of contact lens checks (2011)

There is no hard and fast rule that dictates when a contact lens wearer should have a check-up. The frequency of check-ups is controlled by the lens type, the modality of wear, the compliance of the patient, the age of the lenses and any clinical findings at the last check-up. In truth, it is often the practitioner who favours a particular pattern of appointments. You might be able to argue a ‘no more than’ rule, that a patient should not be supplied with lenses after a period of time ‘no more than’ the practitioner has stated.

The overriding consideration of contact lens check-up intervals is the wellbeing of the patient. As such, I think flexibility is the answer in this case. A practitioner may well suggest a six-monthly reminder, knowing full well that that particular patient will be slow to respond to a reminder and it could be 12 months before they will actually attend. Other patients are occasional wearers of daily disposable lenses who can safely be told to come in at the end of that supply of lenses for a check-up. In all circumstances, it is the responsibility of the practitioner (CLO or optometrist) to inform the patient of the recall and the reason for that check-up. It must also be clearly marked on the record to enable support staff to correctly input the data to a manual or electronic system, which will send reminders at the appropriate time.

The important thing is that contact lens practitioners can be reassured that those reminders will be sent and that contact lenses will not be supplied to patients if check-ups are missed. To this end, all support staff and managers should be made aware of the potential problems of a missed check-up, and the legal and professional responsibilities that both optometrists and CLOs have to their patients.

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