Editorial: Continuing Optometric Education

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1*Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Eye- and Vision Center Optometrie Cagnolati GmbH

Participation in certified continuing education applies equally to ophthalmologists and optometrists. Ophthalmologists have been subject to a continuing education requirement since 1 April 2004. This is part of the German Social Law. The necessary continuing education points (CME = Continuing Medical Education) can be obtained in a number of different ways. In addition to presence meetings and online events, this also includes self-study of relevant specialist literature certified by the Panel Physicians' Association (Kassenärztliche Vereinigungen). Continuing education is also mandatory for optometrists, especially in English-speaking countries, in order to maintain their licence. In the USA, Continuing Education (CE) credits for optometrists are awarded if the relevant continuing education courses are certified by the Council of Practitioner Education (COPE). In the UK, the General Optical Council (GOC) is responsible for certifying organisers to award CET (Continuing Education Training) points. In the German-speaking countries of Europe, optometrists are not yet required to undergo further training to maintain their licence.

Only some professional organisations require clearly defined certificates of continuing education. This has now partially changed in Germany since the foundation of the "German Quality Association for Optometric Services (GOL)." in 2019. Users of the RAL Quality Mark for Optometric Services as well as optometrists registered in the Optometrists' Register must comply with the continuing education requirement in the RAL Quality and Test Regulations and provide proof of their continuing optometric education [Continuing Optometric Education, (COE)]. If the required number of COE points specified in the quality and test regulations is not achieved within two years, the right to use the quality mark and the entry in the optometrists' register expires.

One COE article is published in each issue of OCL. The OCL Editorial Board selects the respective article; the questions are designed as multiple-choice tests according to the guidelines of the GOL and can be answered online on the OCL website.For successful completion of a COE certified course in Optometry and Contact Lenses (OCL), participants receive one COE point. In addition to the GOL, SBAO and VDCO also recognise COE points earned in this way. As a subscriber to OCL, you can participate in this continuing education.


Wolfgang Cagnolati