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History of the TTOA

Opticians who test sight were first required to register in Trinidad & Tobago on January 2nd 1933 under the Optician’s (Registration) Ordinance Number 10 of 1932. This allowed for the constitution of the Opticians Registration Board which consists of the Director of Medical Services as Chairman of the Board, two medical practitioners and two opticians. These appointments were made by the Governor from time to time.

The Trinidad & Tobago Optometrists Association was formed prior to WW2 (1939) and was known as the Trinidad & Tobago Optical Association (TTOA).

In 1959 a bill was introduced to the create Optician’s Registration Council and repealed the Optician’s Ordinance of 1932. In this Bill opticians who test sight or ophthalmic opticians were first recognized as optometrists and opticians who compound and dispense spectacles only were recognized as dispensing opticians. The Trinidad & Tobago Optician’s Registration Council (TTORC) was constituted the appointment of two medical practitioners appointed by the medical board, three optometrists appointed by the Minister after consultation with the Ophthalmic Opticians Association and one dispensing optician appointed by the Minister and the Director of Medical Services or his nominee. Optometrists were first barred from taking, using or assuming the title of Doctor under this legislation for the first time. Prior to this legislation optometrists followed the British Rules and regulations under the National Health Services Regulations and freely used diagnostic drugs such as mydriatics and cycloplegics in practice.

After Independence in 1962 the Optician’s Act was amended in 1968 to recognize the independent state of Trinidad & Tobago the Chief Medical Officer replaced the Director of Medical Services.

The next change in the legislation came with Act 27 of 1987 which once again changed the constitution of the Optician’s Registration Council to replace one of the medical practitioners on the TTORC with a dispensing optician appointed by the Dispensing Opticians Association. The Ophthalmic Opticians Association was replaced by the Trinidad & Tobago Optometrists Association. The companies or firms practicing Optometry or the practice of dispensing opticians were required to register under the act for the first time.

The use of diagnostic drugs was tightly regulated for the first time and only optometrists trained after 1960 were allowed to use diagnostic drugs in the small schedule which consisted of topical anesthetics and sodium flourescein. Optometrists trained prior to 1960 had to show evidence of training in the use of diagnostic drugs.

The fitting of contact lenses were also regulated for the first time, all optometrists trained after 1960 were allowed to fit contact lenses. Optometrists trained before 1960 and Dispensing opticians were allowed to fit contact lenses providing that they could satisfy the Council of their proficiency.