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HomeminewsNew Era for Irish Optoms

New Era for Irish Optoms

The Association of Optometrists in Ireland has welcomed changes to the regulation of its profession, introduced on 1 November 2015, which mean optometrists can now practice according to their “knowledge, skills, competence and experience” in line with other healthcare professionals.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]

Until now, the country’s optometry profession has been regulated by the Opticians Act, created in 1956 to regulate dispensing and sale of spectacles. The Act restricted the scope of practice of optometrists, by preventing diagnosis and any kind of treatment. The AOI’s website states that although the “profession evolved into healthcare, with the education base to support it, the restrictions of the Act became an enormous barrier to professional progress or to replicate international norms in Ireland”.

Optometrists in Ireland are now regulated under the Health & Social Care Professions Council (known now as CORU). Sixty hours of continuing professional development is required over a two-year cycle, CORU registrants are subject to a new code of conduct and open to fitness to practise complaints.

A statement by the AOI said: “Nothing will change overnight but optometrists will have the opportunity to expand their practice activities into new services, provided they can demonstrate their competence to do so. The Association is delighted to have been able to steer the process in the right direction and will be at the forefront in leading the way forward.” The regulation of dispensing remains in place.