Clarification of terms 

'Administer' and 'use' mean to personally introduce a medicine to a person’s body (or personally observe its introduction).

'Supply' means to provide a medicine for a person to administer or use at a later time. 

Registered optometrists 

The Secretary has given general approval for an optometrist registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and carrying on the lawful practice of their profession to be in possession of, and administer, the following Schedule 4 medicines for use in the eyes of patients: 

  • local anaesthetics (synthetic cocaine substitutes), when prepared and packed in the form of eye drops containing 0.5 per cent or less of such local anaesthetics 
  • tropicamide, when prepared and packed in the form of eye drops containing 1 per cent or less of tropicamide 
  • cyclopentolate hydrochloride, when prepared and packed in the form of eye drops containing 1 per cent or less of cyclopentolate hydrochloride 
  • pilocarpine nitrate, when prepared and packed in the form of eye drops containing 2 per cent or less of pilocarpine nitrate 
  • physostigmine salicylate, when prepared and packed in the form of eye drops containing 0.5 per cent or less of physostigmine salicylate. 

Authorised optometrists

An authorised optometrist is a registered optometrist whose registration is endorsed under s. 94 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

An authorised optometrist is authorised to obtain, possess, use, prescribe or supply any Schedule 2, 3 or 4 medicine for ophthalmic use that is approved by the Minister and specified in their endorsement in the lawful practice of their profession (s. 13 of the Act).

The Minister's approval currently includes any Schedule 2, 3 or 4 medicine that is in the form of a preparation for topical use in the eye.  

Orthoptists 

A registered orthoptist, practising under the direction of a medical practitioner or an authorised optometrist, is authorised to possess and have access to Schedule 4 medicines that are local anaesthetics and cycloplegics in topical ophthalmic preparations for use in the eyes of patients. 

Registered orthoptists are not authorised to supply or prescribe any scheduled medicines.

Legislative requirements

Whereas authorised optometrists are authorised under the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (the Act), the authorisation for registered optometrists and registered orthoptists is included in the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 (r. 7).

The Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 also contain the majority of regulatory requirements, relating to scheduled poisons, with which registered health practitioners must comply.

The Poisons Standard lists all scheduled poisons and contains standards with which authorised optometrists must comply, including the labelling requirements for dispensed medicines.

Safe, lawful and appropriate treatment

In addition to the requirement to ensure treatment is lawful, registered health practitioners are required to meet professional standards that are contained in other legislation and that are determined by their professional registration boards.

This website contains a range of documents, in the section for Documents to print or download, which summarise the legislative requirements and issues that relate to each type of registered health practitioner plus documents that relate to multiple categories of health practitioner. The following document provides an overview of the legislative requirements that relate to optometrists and orthoptists.

  • Optometrists (and orthoptists) - key legislative requirements in Victoria

The following documents, in the section headed ‘Matters that relate to many health practitioners’ contain requirements that are common to multiple categories of health practitioner:

  • Possession and storage: includes regulatory requirements and matters to be notified to authorities
  • Supply, administration and records: includes software and recording requirements, destruction of Schedule 8 poisons and labelling requirements for dispensed medicines
  • Prescribing: includes regulatory requirements for issuing prescriptions, writing chart instructions, authorising administration and providing verbal instructions in an emergency
  • Handwritten and computer-generated prescriptions: includes details of mandatory components of prescriptions
  • All reasonable steps and other key terms: includes an explanation of the meaning and application of the subjective term 'all reasonable steps', which appears in several regulations, and how it might be applied to certain situations
  • Schedule 2 and 3 poisons: includes details of the legislation that applies to the lawful supply of ‘Pharmacy Medicines’ and ‘Pharmacist Only Medicines’ by health practitioners (other than pharmacists) – if such supplies are lawful at all.

For full details, refer to the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 and the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017. 

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