Since new government guidelines came into play, most optical practices are now only providing minimal services.
However, those worried about the state of their eyes during this time should know that optical specialists are included in the government’s list of essential workers. This means that they will be available to help if urgently needed.
Ultimately this means that routine checkups are no longer being offered and patients are encouraged not to go to their opticians unless it is essential.Three of the four countries in the UK have release their own guidance on what “essential” means, with England (at the time of writing) being the only one yet to release an official statement, although this is expected to change soon. However, other optical bodies have provided their own guidance on how opticians should approach the coronavirus crisis and they include providing spectacles or repairs for key workers, who cannot work without their glasses, and helping with any sudden changes to vision or painful eyes. If there is no clinical need for a patient to attend an optical practice, optical businesses are encouraged to post or deliver spectacles to their patients. If there is a clinical need, then the practice is to use their professional judgement to decide on the best course of action.
Contact lenses, again, can be posted out if the specification is in date. If the specification is not in date then it is up to the professional to judge which has a higher risk, possible COVID-19 spread or dispensing an out of date contact lens specification.It is important to note that guidance on this topic can vary depending on whether the practice is based in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. For the most up to date information, please visit their respective NHS websites.
The General Optical Council also have a page dedicated to updates on the Covid-19 situation and what guidance has been made.
If you have sight loss and are struggling with self-isolation, we created a list of tips that may help you out during this time. OXSIGHT are also operational and our opticians are available to chat if advice is needed. Our number is 01865 580255.