16 June 2020

Amber guidance statement

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

The College published guidance in early June to help practices prepare for wider re-opening. We consulted with sector bodies before this was published. Based on the wider reopening of non-essential shops in England, announced late last week, we sought to provide clarity to the profession in stating on Friday that, as of 15th June we were now in the amber phase of our guidance in England, allowing optometrists to provide care on a needs and symptoms-led basis as the pandemic continues.  

Our position remains clear; practices can open, practitioners should wear PPE, practise comprehensive infection control and social distance where possible. To ensure patient and practitioner safety continues while there is still sustained community transmission, we recommend cases should be prioritised according to needs. 

Although they cite the College’s guidance, the GOC and other bodies have issued statements that appear to conflict with it, which has caused confusion. We are working with those bodies to get further clarity for our members as a matter of urgency. 

During the past three months, we have been living and working through the peak of a global pandemic. The optical sector has made significant changes to continue to safely deliver eye care throughout lockdown. We have worked in collaboration and at pace with other sector stakeholders to support practices and clinicians to make these changes and deliver eye care effectively and in ways we would not have considered possible at the start of the year.

This article was correct at time of publication. 

Related further reading

For the very last issue of Optometry in Practice, Professor Jonathan Jackson MCOptom reflects on the past two decades of the journal and its contribution to our learning.

This article describes sleep and its regulation, and the specific contribution of the eye.

This paper describes how viruses infect, reproduce and damage cells. Knowing this process is critical for understanding how to treat ocular viral infections.