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:

  • Put appropriate infection control, practice modifications, and social distancing procedures in place
  • Ensure there is telephone/video review to determine COVID-19 status and level of eyecare need
  • Provide services remotely where possible and in the patient’s best interests
  • Ask the patient to attend the practice alone where possible and reduce the number of people in the consulting room
  • Ask patients to wear a face covering where possible
  • Conduct a risk assessment
  • Keep up to date with guidance published by UK governments.

Optometrists should:

  • Wear PPE if seeing patients face to face
  • Use alternatives to aerosol generating procedures (microblepharoexfoliation or Alger brush) until the green phase
  • Adapt their routine to reduce close contact with patients and streamline consultations to only do tests that are clinically necessary, rather than ‘blanket testing’ all patients in a category. Annotate the record accordingly
  • Make it clear on the record what adjustments have been made to the routine or decision making
  • Keep up to date with guidance published by UK governments.

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. 

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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

As of Monday 29 June 2020, all four UK nations are in the amber phase of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join Josie Evans MCOptom, Optometrist at Linklater & Warren Opticians, as she reflects on her experiences and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Survey published as optometric services expand across England to offer wider care to patients

Research optometrist, Tulsi Parekh MCOptom, reflects on the ups and downs of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Does vitamin D play a role in reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection, and what does this mean to the UK’s BAME communities? Mike Bowen, Director of Research at the College of Optometrists, considers the evidence.

Join Seraphina Yap, pre-reg trainee at PLM Optometrists in Scotland, as she navigates her new life on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic with her supervisor David Cummins MCOptom DipTP (IP).

Join optometrist, Hamza Mussa MCOptom, as he reflects on his experience being furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The College of Optometrists issues a statement on the amber guidance.

Our resources to help you navigate the amber phase of the pandemic.

This guidance has been developed by The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) and the College of Optometrists (CoO) in response to the pandemic and may be subject to change.

Services expand as The College of Optometrists’ survey shows 22% of people noticed their vision get worse over the course of lockdown

The Westminster government has announced the easing of lockdown measures, including the opening of non-essential shops, from 15 June.

Join optometrist, Yasmine Sahraie MCOptom, as she gives us an insight into the Emergency Eye Care Treatment team in Grampian, Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join Gemma Hill MCOptom, Optometrist and Owner of Forde Opticians, as she updates us on her life in practice and search for PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We've issued advice to help the general public look after their eyes during lockdown.

Join Jagdeep Singh MCOptom, Optometrist at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, for part two of his experience working in hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join optometrist, Tina Chudasama MCOptom, as she reflects on being furloughed while between jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join Paddy Gunn MCOptom, Principle Optometrist at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, as he reflects on the challenges faced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Podcast: In this episode, Dr Parth Shah MCOptom talks to Maninder Gudray MCOptom Dip TP(IP) about the impact of COVID-19 on optical practices and what practice owners could be doing to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on their practice.

Insiyah Bharmal MCOptom, Optometrist at Vision Express in Nottingham, takes you through her journey of returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen to the first in our short series of lockdown podcasts with Dr Parth Shah MCOptom.