3 November 2020

Optometrists advised to remain open in England during lockdown

In line with the government’s new national restrictions in England, we have advised members that all practices remain open to provide services.

In line with the government’s new national restrictions in England to reduce the spread of COVID-19 from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, the College of Optometrists has advised its members that all practices remain open to provide services, continue to prioritise patients based on clinical need and follow our Amber phase guidance during this period. This is in line with NHS England recommendations.

We recommend that patients with any concerns about their vision should call their optometrist in the first instance. You can search for your local optometrist College member here: LookAfterYourEyes.org.

Below are the recommended safety instructions optometrists will be following:

  • Optometrists should offer telephone and video review to patients in the first instance to determine their COVID-19 status and the level of eye care needed.
  • Optometrists should consider the clinical needs and presenting symptoms, relative to the risk of sight loss and harm to the patient, when prioritising patient appointments.
  • Routine appointments can continue to be provided, if there is the sufficient capacity to do so, once all urgent and essential appointments have been managed. Sufficient time should be allowed to perform the required infection control procedures and safely complete all clinically indicated tests.
  • All optometrists are required to wear PPE.

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This article was correct at time of publication. 

Related further reading

Becky McCall asks how shifts in working practices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic might change the ophthalmic services workforce.

The College’s Clinical Editor on renewed excitement and optimism in the profession.

This study investigates the opinions of contact lens practitioners at the end of lockdown about the changes they implemented.