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We’re living through a lot of changes in our communities and on the high street. Many people have found themselves looking for a new local optometrists’ practice, for example because their optometrist has retired, or the practice has closed down or moved out of the area.  We’re also finding an increase in people who have experienced some eye or vision issues, during lockdown and would like to have an eye examination, but have not visited an optometrist in a long time, if at all, and are looking for a local practice.

Finding a local practice

You can find a local optometrists, who is a member of the College, by using our search.

College members use the affix MCOptom or FCOptom after their name and this shows that they are a member of their professional body, and committed to the highest standards of patient care.

If you are due a sight test, you should book it as soon as possible as there can be a bit of a wait in some areas.

Does my new practice need my patient records to carry out a sight test?

It is helpful for your optometrist to have your patient history, especially if you have had vision and eye health issues in the past. However, you don’t need to delay booking your sight test until your records arrive, so book in for your test as soon as you can.

How do my records get transferred?

Your patient records belong to your old practice.  If the practice closes down or changes hands then the practice owner will ensure the records are kept safely and securely, and normally will arrange to transfer your records to another practice and let you know when this has been done.

Your old practice may also transfer your files to the local primary care organisation (eg your NHS area team) who will keep them on file until your new practice asks for them.

Can I ask for my patient records to be sent to the practice of my choice?

The owner of the records has to keep them for the required period of time, but they can supply a duplicate copy to your chosen practice, or directly to you to take along to your appointment.

My records have been transferred to another practice, do I have to register with them?

No you don’t. If you choose to register with a different practice to the one which holds your records, you can give your consent for your new practice to request that your records.

Can I request a copy of my records?

Yes.  If asked, your optometrist will supply a copy of your records to you, free of charge, within a reasonable period of time. They may ask for proof of identity, such as a driving license or passport.

The Patient’s Association has more information on medical records for patients in England and Wales.

Also see…