In this section you can find the most up to date legislation, regulation and guidance for the UK optical sector.

FODO members with specific or more detailed queries can contact the team at [email protected] or call 020 7298 5151.

For details about legislation in Ireland, visit our FODO Ireland sister site.

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General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) refers to sight testing services provided to patients entitled to NHS sight tests, including issuing NHS vouchers (GOS3s) towards the cost of spectacles or contact lenses, by community optical practices, domiciliary providers, optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners. (N.B. Redeeming GOS3s and hospital vouchers is not part of GOS as supplying optical appliances is a private, largely deregulated function.)


All practices in the UK providing these services must either

hold a GOS contract (England only)


be included on an NHS ophthalmic list (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).

Individual Practitioners

In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland individual optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners who provide GOS must also be included in the NHS ophthalmic list.

In England optometrist practitioners must be included on NHS England’s separate ophthalmic performers list.  Listing in one UK country is not transferable and individuals must be on the separate lists for each country in which they practise.

This section outlines the various elements of the GOS contract for each UK country including regulatory requirements, policies, fees, vouchers, claims, QIO and Performers List requirements.

Domiciliary eye care is provided to those who are unable to visit a high street practice unaccompanied due to a mental, physical or learning disability. For this patient group, many of whom are vulnerable adults, good eye care can have an enormous impact on their independence and wellbeing.

High quality eye care should be available to all patients, regardless of whether the service is delivered in the patient’s home or in the high street.

Domiciliary eye care is a specialised area of optometry and optics requiring particular skills and abilities.

For further information on domiciliary eye care please contact [email protected]

Primary eye care services (other than GOS) are commissioned at a local level. This section provides information on community services commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups under the NHS Standard Contract

Included in this section is information about the Opticians Act 1989, the General Optical Council (GOC), including registration, professional standards and fitness to practise, and College of Optometrists professional guidance.

The GOC is the Health and Social Care regulator for the Optical Industry regulating optometrists, dispensing opticians and bodies corporate carrying on business as optometrists or dispensing opticians. The GOC’s main aims are to protect the public and promote high standards of professional conduct and education amongst opticians.

Continuing Education and Training (CET) is a statutory requirement for every optometrist and dispensing optician.  The headings below provide further detail on CET requirements and claiming the CET allowance. You can also find below guidance on supervision and the pre-registration supervisors grant.

It is essential that all optical practices keep adequate patient records, have a data management policy that adheres to data protection law and are mindful when using social media.  The sections below provide further information on data management in optical practices.

Sight testing, spectacle and contact lens supply, including contact lens fitting, are governed by the Opticians Act 1989 and the orders, rules and regulation made under the Act. The sections below provide further detail on the rules and regulations on sale and supply of spectacles and contact lenses and FODO and Optical Confederation guidance on other aspects of sales.


All spectacle sales other than those which are exempt under s27(2) of the Act or the Sale of Optical Appliances Order of Council 1984 must be sold by, or under the supervision of, a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or medical practitioner.

Contact Lenses

Both powered and plano (cosmetic) contact lenses must be sold by or under the general direction of a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or medical practitioner.

This section encompasses clinical information for optometrists, together with spectacle assembly registration requirements, and medicine/medical device alerts and updates.

Ophthalmology has long been the sister specialty to optometry and optics with the majority of hospital referrals coming from the primary eye care services.  However these sectors have traditionally been separated in the NHS by training, status, systems and contracts and the enduring primary-secondary care divide.

These gaps are now closing with the need to make best use of skills and available capacity to meet rapidly growing eye health need driven by an ageing population, often living with multiple long-term conditions, and growing levels of myopia amongst young people.

Change is also being driven by new interventions, advances in technology, digitisation, IT connectivity, Artificial Intelligence and the UK governments’ drives to move care closer to home and to focus more on prevention, early intervention and better outcomes.

FODO members are at the forefront of these changes in the UK and Europe with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (and LOCSU colleagues in England).