Press Release

Minister Callely opens the annual Banquet and Ball of the Association of Optometrists Annual Convention

Mr Ivor Callely T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for services for older people, this evening (24th April 2004) opened the annual Banquet and Ball of the Association of Optometrists, Ireland (AOI).

The Banquet followed the AOI┬┤s annual convention, which is the main business and educational event of the year for optometrists. The convention was attended by AOI members, representatives and guests from the optical organisations in Britain and also the optical supply industry.

Speaking at the Banquet, the Minister outlined the main developments in the field of optometry in the previous year, including the enactment of the Opticians (Amendment) Act, 2003.

Commenting on the Act, Minister Callely noted that the removal of the absolute prohibition on the prescription and administration of drugs by optometrists now allowed “optometrists to carry out their jobs fully and to the best of their ability.”

With regard to the regulation of contact lenses Minister Callely stated “It was a matter of concern to my Department that it was permissible for retail outlets to sell cosmetic contact lenses over the counter and without the supervision of a registered professional. The availability of contact lenses as a fashion accessory, aimed primarily at teenagers and young people, was clearly unacceptable.”

The Minister noted that under the Opticians (Amendment) Act, 2003 “this practice has been brought to an end, as all contact lenses, with or without focal power, can now only be sold and dispensed by a registered professional.”

Looking towards the coming year, Minister Callely noted that the Department was looking forward to continued co-operation with the AOI, particularly in relation to fitness to practice issues.