Spotlight on Standard 2 – Evidence-Informed Practice

Standard 2 describes how an optician applies verifiable evidence, critical thinking, and professional judgment to all aspects of service delivery.

Case Study #1

Blue light filtering lenses

Your client is looking for a pair of glasses and would like to find out more about blue light filtering lenses—in particular, the efficacy of the lenses in protecting the eyes from blue light and ultra-violet light. How do you provide evidence-based information to this client?

Case Study #2

Myopia control lenses

You have a young client who has been prescribed myopia control lenses as well as contact lenses. The parent of the young client would like more information about the lenses and has asked for your opinion. What can you tell the parent?

Best practices for an evidence-informed approach

The Standards of Practice describe the “expected outcomes” of a visit with an optician from the perspective of the client. But how do you ensure you are achieving these outcomes? 

The client can expect that the optical services they receive from their optician:

  1.  Are informed by relevant clinical research, professional experience, and knowledge.

    The claims that an optician makes about certain technologies or products must be verifiable. Prior to making a claim, you should ensure that the information you’re sharing is derived from a credible source, such as a product rep, a lens rep, a knowledgeable colleague, or—best of all—clinical research.
  2. Are specific to their circumstances and individual needs.

    The recommendation of specific product features or benefits should be solely based on the individual needs of the client—not determined by financial quotas, sales targets, vendor agreements, or personal/business motivations.

    Product features and benefits should be explained in a way that is transparent and easy to understand but also clinically accurate.

    You should talk to your client about any recommendations that have come from the prescriber regarding lens type, material, coatings, or treatments. Don’t assume that any of these features are required unless stipulated in the prescription, and don’t proceed without ensuring that the client understands which coatings/treatments will be included with their lenses.

    Consider your client’s occupation, hobbies, lifestyle, and other subjective information when making recommendations.

Clients rely on your expertise—and to be an expert, you have to do your homework. The optical industry is constantly evolving, so it’s essential that you maintain your product knowledge and keep up to date on the latest research. This is why COBC’s Continuing Competency Program (CCP) is so important. Learning and growing as an optician is integral to maintaining your licence and to maintaining an evidence-informed practice environment. You can’t recommend unless you have done the research.

What do you think?

How would you respond to the clients in Case Studies 1 and 2 above? Do you need more information in order to provide a thorough and relevant answer?

Articles on blue light filtering lenses:

Articles on myopia control lenses: 

What criteria from Standard 2: Evidence-Informed Practice were considered in the above case studies?

2.1 Review a variety of reliable sources of evidence.

2.2 Use critical thinking to identify, interpret, and adapt evidence in practice.

2.3 Evaluate practice based on client outcomes and available evidence, and use professional judgment to modify approaches accordingly. 2.4 Exchange verifiable evidence with other opticians, relevant regulated health care professionals, students, unregulated staff, and clients to ensure continuity of care.

Working on your CCP? Remember that reading and implementing the new Standards of Practice is your professional responsibility—but it can also be used towards your learning goals!

If you’re interested in delving deeper into Standard 2: Evidence-Informed Practice as part of your CCP, consider some self-directed learning on a topic that your clients often ask you about, or perhaps a topic about which you’ve heard varying perspectives or misconceptions.

Here are some ideas:

  • The benefits of anti-reflective coating
  • Methods of reducing digital eye strain
  • The purpose of polarized lenses
  • The science behind high-index lenses

For more information on the standards, please review our new Standards of Practice page on our website.