It is illegal for contact lenses to be handed over by anyone in a practice or elsewhere without the patient having had a comprehensive visual and ocular health consultation and a thorough evaluation for the suitability of contact lens usage, by the registered optometrist.
Should the patient change optometrists, the new optometrist has to obtain the details of the prescribed lenses from the previous practitioner in writing (dated) or re-examine the patient.
Contact lens prescriptions are to be supplied to registered practitioners only for clinical dispensing and after care.
The new practitioner takes full responsibility for the prescription and is obliged to verify that the lens dispensed fulfils all the visual and ocular health criteria for contact lens wear.
Optometrists are legally bound to report any knowledge of illegal sales of contact lenses to the HPCSA/local police.
- Contact lenses must not be handed over to patients without an ocular health evaluation beyond a year after the last consultation.
- Contact lenses are part of the scope of profession and practice of optometrists and therefore only registered optometrists are allowed to fit and/or dispense any type of contact lenses. It is a criminal offence for an unregistered person to sell contact lenses directly to the public.
- Contact lenses cannot be supplied via mail order as it is mandatory for the supply of contact lenses to be accompanied by the defined clinical care.
- Practitioners are obliged to report any irregular practices to the police and HPCSA.
- Receptionists and other frontline staff are not allowed to hand contact lenses out to patients on the patient’s request without the direct clinical care of the optometrist.
- Optometrists must at all times perform in accordance with the statutory regulations as well as with these clinical guidelines.
- Optometrists must prescribe the most appropriate contact lens for the patient’s specific needs at all times and not only prescribe lenses/solutions whereby the best profit margin is achieved.
- Optometrists are obliged to treat any information on their patients confidentially and not provide any information to third parties without the individual patient’s written consent.
- If a patient has been referred or fitted previously by another optometrist, the new practitioner must inform the previous optometrist about the proposed treatment decided upon.
- All patient records MUST be retained for at least 5 years in line with legal requirements
- Optometrists must keep their knowledge of developments in the contact lenses field updated.