6 August 2020

Preparing for local lockdowns: College guidance

In light of measures being introduced by the government across the UK, here is our guidance on dealing with local lockdown measures.

As local lockdowns could be announced at short notice, and may vary in the nature of the restrictions from place to place, we recommend that members and practice owners make plans for local lockdown in their area.

As local lockdowns could be announced at short notice, and may vary in the nature of the restrictions from place to place, we recommend that members and practice owners make plans for local lockdown in their area.

The College’s Optometric primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic was written to help optometrists decide whether they are in the ‘red’ or the ‘amber’ phase of the pandemic. If a local lockdown is announced you should check whether this equates to the red or the amber phase to help you decide which services to provide. These measures will help protect local residents from COVID-19 infection, while maintaining the community’s essential eye health and vision needs.

Check information with official local sources 

There may be a lag between a government announcement and guidance being published by the local public health or NHS/health services. So, in the first instance, members and practice owners should verify any announcement through a trusted news or government source and then look to their local council for information on the geographic area that is included. 

Follow relevant College guidance 

If you are working in an area that returns to full lockdown: 

  1. Face-to-face eye care should only be for patients who need essential, urgent/emergency eye care or essential contact lens practice only. The exact mechanism for this service provision will be decided by local arrangements. 
     
  2. Triage and eye care should be provided remotely, with patients only seen face-to-face, when necessary. Patients already booked for appointments should be contacted to ascertain their level of need. You should postpone their visit if they do not need urgent/emergency or essential care.
     
  3. You should continue to follow The College of Optometrists Primary eye care COVID-19 pandemic guidance.

For more information and resources, please visit the COVID-19: Updates, guidance, information and resources page.

This article was correct at time of publication. For the latest COVID-19 information, please visit the COVID-19 page.

Related further reading

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From ocular allergy, through cosmetics and genetic disorders of the anterior eye, to driving without spectacle correction.

A message from Colin Davidson, College President.