COVID-19

As lockdown restrictions are in the process of being eased across the UK, there has been no indication from each UK nation’s health and government bodies of plans to step down infection prevention and control procedures (IPC) or social distancing for primary or secondary healthcare settings in the coming months. While we constantly review our COVID-19 guidance to ensure it is up to date, we anticipate the Amber phase guidance will continue for some period of time, and potentially for the rest of 2021.

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COVID-19 Clinical guidance

Our regularly updated clinical and professional guidance has been developed to ensure that you can practise safely and effectively through all phases of the pandemic

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 provide a range of resources for optometrists to use in practice or remotely, including template forms, posters and downloads, and a visual acuity chart and other resources for remote consultations. Some of these have been developed exclusively for our members.

The College, alongside representatives from ABDO, AOP, FODO and GOC, have answered your questions on delivering eyecare during the Amber phase.

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.

Throughout the pandemic we’ve been producing videos, podcasts, webinars and journal articles to keep you informed, entertained and help support you through the lockdown. We’ve also developed new learning materials to help you adapt your practice – and gain CPD points.

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

Here we summarise three research papers from a recent issue of Optometry in Practice.

From vaccine hesitancy to blue-light filters, Steve Smethurst looks at the erroneous but unbudgeable beliefs that should be buried for good.

The College of Optometrists and The Royal College of Ophthalmologists have released a joint statement of our vision for safe and sustainable patient eye care services.

Following on from the joint vision statement for England published in August 2020, both Colleges have reviewed and built on the learnings over the past year resulting in a joint statement for the UK.

We have updated our Amber phase COVID-19 guidance to help practices across the UK deliver eye care safely and effectively at this stage of the pandemic.

We explain how the easing of restrictions in Wales will affect optometrists.

Sector bodies advise that optical practices should continue to follow Amber guidance, and self-isolation exemptions in England are unlikely to apply in primary eye care settings.

Together with ABDO we advise that practices should continue to operate in the amber phase and maintain high infection control standards this summer.

Healthcare organisations from across England have written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for face masks to be mandatory in healthcare settings.

The College, ABDO, the AOP and FODO have issued guidelines on appropriate infection prevention and control measures following recent government announcements.

As society continues to open up, the Optometry in Practice editorial board thought it opportune to reflect on the experiences of the pandemic to date and assess the impact on both eyecare professionals and our patients.

COVID-19 and its impact on eyecare: a review

This article summarises the key findings of a survey taken by members of the College of Optometrists investigating changes in clinical optometric practice in the UK as a result of the pandemic including the challenges and benefits identified.

This study investigates the opinions of contact lens practitioners at the end of lockdown about the changes they implemented.

This article reviews the research into digital technology innovation and home monitoring in the management of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma.

From the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, teaching in higher education saw a significant move to online learning. How has this impacted the postgraduate independent prescribing programme?

Reflecting on our experience over the summer of 2020 allowed us to scale up our programme delivery to address the education of our Stage 3 cohort.

College of Optometrists encourages the public to seek eye care if they have concerns about their vision or eye health.

The GOC has approved an extension of temporary changes to their Optometry Handbook and Supervision policy

Emma Bennett explores the link between a rise in screen time during the pandemic and increasing levels of myopia in children. 

Clinical files: The local glaucoma service called the practice and requested a patient’s historic intraocular pressure results. Can I give these out over the phone?

Clinical files: Can I prescribe a prescription-only medicine based on my findings and working diagnosis from a remote consultation?

Clinical files: A patient refuses to wear a face covering when attending a primary care practice for a sight test. What should I do?

Clinical files: How can I safely use a visual field machine during the recovery phase of the pandemic?