Your optometrist will keep records of the results of any tests carried out during your visit, as well as any relevant information on your medical history – for example, a history of glaucoma in your family, any allergies and the medications you are taking.
These records will inform their clinical management of your eyes and vision, and help ensure they provide continuity of care. They can also enable another optometrists to take over your care, and could be used as a reference if you have a complaint.
The College of Optometrists recommends that practices retain adults’ patient records for ten years after the date they were last seen – even if the patient has subsequently died. For children, we recommend that records are kept for 10 years after they were last seen or until their 25th birthday, if this is later.
Your records are owned by the practice, but you, or someone who has Power of Attorney for you, have the right to access them or to request a copy of them. In most cases this information will be provided free of charge. If you change practice, you can give your consent for the new practitioner to ask for relevant clinical information from your old practice.
If your practice closes, the owner should transfer patient records to another registered practitioner or practice. If this is not possible, then they should offer them to the local primary care organisation (PCO), or a person nominated by the PCO. The practice should keep you informed of what is happening and where your records will be held in future.
If your practice has closed down, we recommend that, in the first instance, you ask local optical practices if they know where the records have been transferred to. If they do not know, you can ask your local PCO: