20 November 2020

COVID-19: Additional restrictions in Scotland

We explain how the additional restrictions announced in Scotland will affect optometrists.

The Scottish Government has announced additional restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and alleviate pressure on the health and social care system, and confirmed that eleven areas in west and central Scotland are to be placed in the highest level of the country's five-tier system of COVID-19 restrictions from 20 November until 11 December.

How will this affect optometrists?

Patients can leave their home to access local health services, including eye care. All practices may remain open to provide services at all levels of the five-tier system, and should continue to follow our guidance.

When prioritising and scheduling appointments you should continue to consider the clinical needs and presenting symptoms relative to the risk of sight loss and harm to the patient. Routine appointments should be scheduled in line with prioritisation, if there is the appropriate capacity to do so, once all urgent and essential appointments have been managed.

You should offer telephone and video review to patients in the first instance to determine COVID-19 status and level of eye care needed.

Continue to follow the College’s guidance on infection control, social distancing and PPE.

COVID-19 guidance and advice

Check our website regularly for the latest guidance, advice and resources, including:

A summary of optometric primary care during the pandemic, including guidance on practising during the red, amber and green phases. 

In-practice resources such as posters, floor stickers and a downloadable visual acuity chart for remote consultations.

Comprehensive COVID-19 FAQs, covering topics such as PPE, when to see routine patients and what to do if told to self-isolate. 

 You should also take a look at our online learning courses:

How to practise safely during the COVID-19 pandemic (one non-interactive CET point) 

How to provide telephone consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic - part one (one non-interactive CET point)  

How to provide telephone consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic - part two (one non-interactive CET point)  

Restrictions and the Scheme for Registration

If you, or your practice, is involved in helping a trainee to progress through the Scheme for Registration, please be assured that direct observation assessments can continue to take place across all four UK nations at present. Assessors are also still able to travel between areas and nations to carry out a direct observation, if necessary.

Find out more

If you would like further advice or guidance, please first refer to our comprehensive COVID-19 guidance. If you’re still unsure, please contact our clinical advice service, or the education team for queries related to the Scheme for Registration.

This article was correct at time of publication. 

Related further reading

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

This article reviews the utility of telemedicine in community practice.

As our Editor in Chief steps into a new role, we look at how hospital clinics and practices coped with the pressures of the pandemic, and how we can provide services tailored to patients' needs.