Can I have an eye examination now lockdown is easing?

In England routine eye examinations restarted on 15 June 2020 (there are different arrangements in place for the rest of the UK). There are strict infection control precautions in place to protect patients and staff from coronavirus. These include the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves, masks, visors and aprons. The consulting rooms and equipment will also be cleaned before and after each patient.

In order to reduce time spent in the consulting room you may find that some of the tests you normally have will be left out. Your optometrist will have picked out the tests that they feel are essential based or your symptoms and eye health history. You may also be called before your appointment so your optician can go through general questions about your eye health and general health, this is also to reduce time spent in the consulting room. 

Social distancing will be maintained whenever possible. However, as some of the tests carried out in an eye test cannot be done without coming closer, you will also be asked to wear a mask. Screens will be in place on reception and in other areas of the practice.

In addition to these precautions you will be asked if you or anyone else in your family have symptoms of coronavirus. If you are unable to confirm this you will be asked to contact the practice again when you have the all clear. It is very important that you do not attend if you are in any doubt about this.

Most practices have greatly reduced the number of appointments available in order to allow extra time for cleaning equipment, and to keep the number of people in the waiting areas to a minimum. Therefore you may have to wait a few more days than usual to get an appointment. If you have noticed a sudden change in your vision, make sure you tell the receptionist so that you can be seen urgently. It is strongly advised that you call your optician before going to the practice because many have a closed door, appointment only policy.

Your optician will ask you a few questions as why you need the appointment. You may find that they recommend that you wait a little longer before having an eye test if you are not having any eye related symptoms or you are at higher risk of serious complications should you develop coronavirus.

If you need further advice or support during this time, please call RNIB on 0303 123 9999 or visit the gov.uk coronavirus (Covid-19) web pages, along with additional information for ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

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