COVID-19

All of the UK is currently in the Green phase. 

You should now follow our updated Guidance for Professional Practice and your nation’s infection prevention and control guidance for healthcare settings.  

Summary of COVID-19 guidance

We have summarised COVID-19 guidance applicable at different stages of the pandemic below.

During both the red and amber phases of the pandemic practices should:

Optometrists should:

What this means:

  • When a government or health service suspends routine primary care due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Services provided

What this means:

  • Ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with restrictions in place, but primary care remains open for routine services. Primary care services continue to enable the prioritisation of emergency/urgent and essential care on a needs and symptoms-led basis.

Services provided

What this means:

  • Social distancing requirements removed. COVID-19 related PPE is no longer required*. Prioritisation of care based on each nation’s regular local protocols.

Services provided

  • Resume all services on an open access basis.
  • Re-introduction of aerosol generating procedures

*UKHSA continues to recommend universal masking in all health care settings as a precaution to prevent the risk of transmission of respiratory infections including SARS-CoV-2. All staff should continue to wear a fluid-resistant face mask in the green phase as instructed by UKHSA. All people/ patients visiting health care settings should continue to be recommended to use a face covering as recommended by each nations health system. 

Follow us on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates as they happen.

Essential reading

Read on for the answers to your COVID-19 questions, covering a range of topics from driving and HES referrals to PPE and tonometry.

We’ve been working with governments and eye health organisations across the UK to ensure that you have the all the latest news, information and regulations relating to optometry and COVID-19 in your nation.

Since our first update on 20 March 2020, right at the start of lockdown, we’ve been providing timely, relevant news, information and guidance that you can trust.

More on COVID-19

From today, optometrists in the whole of the UK will return to the Green phase as we stand down the Amber phase COVID-19 guidance.

We are pleased to announce that each nation's health system has confirmed that they support a move to the ‘Green’ phase on Tuesday 10 May 2022. From then, the College’s COVID-19 Amber phase guidance will no longer apply in all UK nations.

Updated infection prevention and control guidance and manual have been published by the UK Health Security Agency for England.

In conjunction with each UK Nation’s health system and government public health bodies, optometry practices are expected to move to “Green” phase in early May 2022.

We have reviewed and updated our Guidance for Professional Practice to ensure it aligns with each Nation’s public health advice, including the recommended respiratory infection prevention and controls to minimise risk of transmission.

In the letter, we highlight the importance of vaccination against transmissible diseases, and the responsibilities our professionals have.

We've issued advice, jointly with ABDO, following the Prime Minister's announcement that England would be removing all remaining COVID-19 legal restrictions from 24 February 2022.

Sophie Goodchild examines the success of online learning for providers and practitioners, and what the future holds.

Dr Paramdeep Bilkhu MCOptom, Clinical Adviser for the College, on why PPE should remain on the front line of optometric practice.

Following the announcement by the Secretary for Health that the isolation period for people who test positive for COVID-19 will be cut to five full days in England, NHSE has confirmed this will apply in primary care settings.

UKHSA confirms that changes to the self-isolation period following Covid exposure applies to healthcare workers

The College issues advice following the Prime Minister's announced that the UK would return to COVID Alert Level 4.

Podcast: Daniel talks to Dr Melanie Hingorani FRCOphth, Clinical Lead for Eye Care Restoration and Transformation at NHS England, about the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on referrals.

We believe that vaccine uptake will be maximised when staff are supported to make their own decisions, having been provided with clear, evidence-based information on the benefit and value of vaccinations.

We have updated our Amber phase COVID-19 guidance and COVID-19 FAQs.

Podcast: Professor Leon Davies FCOptom, Editor of OiP, and Professor Shahina Pardhan MCOptom, Director of Vision and Eye Research Institute at ARU, discuss the impact of COVID-19 on eye health and eyecare.

Department of Health and Social Care has not taken on board the advice of The College of Optometrists in their decision to press ahead with mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

The College responded to a DSHC consultation to support the extension of provision of free PPE to the health and care sector, including optometrists, after 31 March.

A message from Colin Davidson, College President.

How the pandemic has created new trends in contact lens wear and compliance.

We've responded to a consultation by the Department of Health and Social Care on making vaccination a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector.

Updates to Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) classification and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on eye strain and dry- eye-related symptoms