22 April 2020

COVID-19: Patient support and information during lockdown

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

Remote consultations
Are you conducting consultations over the phone or via video call? We've put together some temporary guidelines to help you. 

Home visual acuity (VA) chart

Our new, easy-to-use home visual acuity (VA) chart and instructional video, featuring Clinical Adviser Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, allows patients with printer access to provide an approximate measurement of their visual acuity ahead of a remote consultation. Patients can find these resources, alongside other COVID-19 guidance, on lookafteryoureyes.org. Below we have also included a conversion table, so you can easily record an approximate VA when the chart is used at one and four metres.

/COO/media/Media/News/2020/April/VA-chart-table.png

Patient information leaflets
You can now download copies of our leaflets to enable you to reach out to patients. Fill in our short form to receive PDF versions to use during lockdown [PDFs no longer available. Order printed versions.]. You can also link your practice website to the condition pages on our patient information site, lookafteryoureyes.org.

VA chart disclaimer: 
We have taken the steps necessary to ensure this test is broadly equivalent to a validated vision chart when it is used in a well-lit room, printed on an A4 size piece of white paper used at the correct distance.  However, our chart has not been independently validated as such, it is not a substitute for a vision assessment by a clinician using a correctly calibrated and validated vision test chart. The purpose of this College chart is to provide a broad evaluation of visual acuity in order to identify clinically significant sight loss in a home environment, in conjunction with a virtual clinical assessment.

The acuities given for each line are approximate equivalents to aid optometric differential diagnosis. The room illumination, chart distance and printing contrast may all vary. Optometrists should be mindful of this when considering a patient supplied self-recorded visual acuity along side other findings. However, even with these caveats, where a person can print and complete the test, the benefit of knowing an approximate and broadly equivalent level of vision, is in our view a useful aid to any telephone or video clinical review. We would welcome the development of a validated and fully automated visual acuity recording app for home use.

This article was correct at time of publication. 

Related further reading

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

This article provides practical tips for assessing and managing eye health in people with varying degrees of hearing loss.

This article describes an audit to evaluate how the COVID-19 pandemic affected hospital contact lens services.