School of Optometry

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Scope of Practice for optometrists registered under Part 1 of the Optometrists Register (CAP359F: OPTOMETRISTS (REGISTRATION AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE) REGULATION)

The scope of practice of optometrists in the HKSAR is listed in the Supplementary Medical Professions Ordinance CAP359 as follows:

SMP Ordinance: Schedule
          A person trained in the practice of-
                   (a) testing vision;
                   (b) prescribing optical appliances;
                   (c) fitting optical appliances; or
                   (d) supplying optical appliances on prescription. (Added 67 of 1985 s. 15)

The reason for the government adopting this definition in 1985 was explained as follows:

“The purpose of the definition is to describe the work of the Optometry profession in sufficiently broad terms to ensure that it embraces all those engaged in optical work who ought to be registered. This definition does not purport to describe all the work an optometrist may do, but at the same time it does not prevent him from performing additional functions, such as the detection of ocular diseases. By the same token, restrictions may be imposed, through regulations, on the type of work which can be undertaken by different categories of optometrists.” SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AND WELFARE, Legislative Council Minutes, Wednesday, 7 August 1985

In the 2008 consultation document on health care reform, the government defines optometrists and Optometry as follows:

Health professionals trained to provide comprehensive eye and vision care, such as eyesight correction and diagnosis of common conditions related to the eyes or vision. They are not medical doctors but may refer patients to an ophthalmologist (who is a medical doctor specializes in eye care) for treatment when needed.

A healthcare profession that is concerned with eyes and related structure,
vision, and visual system.

The Code of Practice of the Optometrists Board of the HKSAR (1998) recognizes that training is key to the standard of care provided:

6.1 It is recognized that while there are different levels of professional training it is not possible to set one standard of practice for all optometrists. It is, however, important for optometrists to realize that they are expected to provide a standard of care commensurate with the training they have received and with the part of the register on which their names appear.

Advice for PolyU-Optometry graduates registered under Part 1 of the Optometrists Register regarding the standard of care

The government’s position on Optometry over the past two decades has been consistent. Fully educated and qualified optometrists are expected to practice to a standard which matches the training they have received. This expectation is logical since formal Optometry education is mostly paid for by the government at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.  The Code of Practice of the Optometrists Board of the HKSAR is more explicit about this expectation.

The School of Optometry provides training, education and assessments to ensure that its graduates possess competencies to conduct primary eye care examinations including, but not limited to, detecting and assessing visual and ocular problems and managing conditions of the eye and visual system.

For PolyU Optometry graduates up to 2008, the exit competencies are consistent with Category 3 Ocular Diagnostic Services (ODx) as defined by the World Council of Optometry’s Global Competency-Based Model of Scope of Practice in Optometry. For students admitted from 2005, (i.e. graduating class of 2009 and onwards), the expected exit competencies would be consistent with Category 4 Ocular Therapeutic Services (OTx).

Within the constraints of the Medical Registration Ordinance CAP 161 Sect 32, these competencies define the standard of care expected of you.




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