A query recently received at the Membership Department was a complex one. The member asked: “Can I supply contact lenses if the specification is in date, but the prescription is out of date?” It sounds quite straightforward doesn’t it? In reality, it is a bit more complicated.
You may, of course, supply contact lenses to an in-date specification, but it might be worth carefully considering how many lenses to supply if the specification is close to its end date.
For example, if the specification is dated 5 November 2018, with a re-check recommended in 12 months’ time, and today’s date is 5 October 2019, it would be foolish (and possibly illegal) to issue a six-month supply of lenses. A month’s supply of lenses is all that can be supplied.
Added to that, if the eye examination was conducted on 4 October 2018, with a re-check recommended in 12 months’ time, there is a real concern that there could be a change in prescription.
This is one of those cases where professional judgement has to come into play. What are the circumstances of the request for more lenses? Perhaps it is a student returning to university, or a busy shift worker who has problems fitting appointments around his shifts. It is a question of checking back through the records to see if there is a pattern of non-attendance for check-ups, or if there is some pathology that needs a close check on.
Of course, if the patient is unknown to the practice, and so no history is available other than the specification and prescription, then perhaps questions should be asked before action is taken.
In these cases, it is often best practice to book the patient in for a fitting appointment when the power (post eye exam) and type of contact lens can be assessed again, and the correct lenses supplied.
So, you may supply contact lenses if that supply does not exceed the expiry date of the specification. The date of the eye exam prescription is not an issue.