All optometrists have access to a wide range of eye drugs for diagnosing and treating eye diseases. They can sell or supply certain eye medicines to patients.
Alternatively, they may give you a written prescription so you can obtain medicine at a pharmacy.
These drugs include, for example, anti-bacterial eye drops for treating conjunctivitis (‘red eye’) and certain anti-allergy drugs and ocular lubricants.
In addition, optometrists who undertake extra training have access to an additional list of drugs allowing them to manage a wider range of eye conditions.
There are some patients who are assessed first by a general practitioner (GP) or an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) and who agree to a course of treatment, or health management plan, with their optometrist.
For these patients the optometrist can issue repeat prescriptions for eye drugs and may adjust the dose while the GP or specialist undertakes regular reviews.
Optometrists able to take part in this scheme require a higher level of training.
Eye conditions that optometrists are most likely to encounter and manage are:
- infective conjunctivitis
- allergic conjunctivitis
- blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
- dry eye
- superficial eye injuries.