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Safe practice - Eye testing

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Testing sight is central to community optometric practice and a key public health service both in providing vision correction for all and in identifying sight-threatening and other pathologies at an early stage.

There are various components to sight tests: history and symptoms, routine procedures, refraction, internal and external examinations, targeted investigations and record keeping. Most sight tests are routine, most patients do not have significant abnormalities and sight-testing has a very high safety record. Nevertheless, like all clinical practice and human interaction, it is not risk free:

  • Errors may be made in prescribing 
  • Errors may be made in dispensing 
  • One or more procedures may be missed
  • Pathologies may not be detected.


Read the Optical Confederation's Safe practice: eye testing guidance
 which helps you minimise potential risks in the sight testing process. 


Originally published: June 2012

Reviewed: 2016

Next review date: March 2022

Info: New hosting page created on for original Optical Confederation (OC) guidance following changes to the OC website in January 2020.

Reference and notes

The next review was originally planned for December 2021. This was changed due to prioritising work during the pandemic.