C 7.1.1 Statutory regulation does not permit the dispensing of spectacle prescriptions by unqualified persons to children under 16 (Opticians Act 1989, s.27). Sales of spectacles to children can only be made by or under the supervision of a registered practitioner. Registered practitioners include optometrists, dispensing opticians and ophthalmic medical practitioners, and students under supervision.
C7.3.1 In law, people over the age of 16 are presumed to have capacity to consent (Family Law Reform Act 1969; Mental Capacity Act 2005), and those under this age are not. However, the principle of Gillick competence may apply to children under 16. In the case of Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority 1985, it was held that a child under 16 has capacity to consent to treatment if he or she is able to understand what is proposed (including the consequences of non-treatment if he or she refuses). The degree of understanding is judged according to the seriousness of the decision the child is being asked to make.