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

Join Jagdeep Singh MCOptom, Optometrist at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, as he takes you through his new routine, both inside and outside the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An update from ABDO and the College of Optometrists following the Governments' announcement on the easing of lockdown.

Join Donya Gharanei MCOptom, Optometrist at Specsavers Opticians in Acocks Green, as she discusses the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The third part of Dr Deacon Harle's experiences of providing urgent and essential care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join Rosie Gavzey MCOptom as she takes you through her experience of volunteering at London’s NHS Nightingale Hospital.

We outline COVID-19 testing information for optometrists in all four UK nations.

Our advice on eye protection when working in the home or garden.

Join David Cummins MCOptom, Optometrist and Partner at PLM Optometrists in Scotland, as he takes you through a series of real-life cases, managed at his practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join Hassnain Safdar MCOptom, a Locum based in the East Midlands, as he navigates through his new 'normal' during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join Gemma Hill MCOptom, Optometrist and Owner of Forde Opticians, as she takes you through her life as a ‘one-man band’ in her independent practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our response to the Royal College of Ophthalmologist's guidance on reopening and redeveloping services after COVID-19

Léa Surugue looks at how to carry out effective virtual consultations in a time of social distancing and discusses the clinical and legal pitfalls.

The second part of Dr Deacon Harle's experiences of providing urgent and essential care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join Nicola and Oliver Gatehouse, owners of Ball & Gatehouse Opticians, as they update you on the challenges they have faced in their practice since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Deacon Harle FCOptom, Optometrist and Director at Osborne Harle in Kent, records his experiences of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join Faye McDearmid MCOptom, optometrist at Campbell & McDearmid in Redcar, as she updates us on her week at work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our growing range of resources will ensure that you can provide the best possible patient care during these uncertain times. 

Five ways students can get the most out of studying from home in uncertain times

This outlines a COVID-19 Urgent Eyecare Service delivered from a network of optical practices, acting as urgent eye care hubs, to support the immediate and recovery phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK‘s public health bodies and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have published new guidance about personal protective equipment (PPE).

The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the provision of eye care in primary and secondary care.

The College and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists has sent the following letter to Jo Churchill MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care.