How do I get help if I am worried about my eyesight during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic?

The first step is to phone your usual optician or optometrist. They will most probably have a team member available to answer your call, but if not, there should at least be a recorded a phone message directing you to a local emergency optometry service. 

If no one from the local emergency optometry answers your call, you should phone 111 or NHS Direct instead, depending on where you live. 

The guidance from the government, NHS primary care and governing bodies for high street opticians is as follows:  

  • No routine eye examinations should be carried out. You will not be able to have a routine eye examination or contact lens aftercare. 
  • Spectacles can be prescribed for key workers who cannot do their job without their spectacles and then a test will be carried out only if they think that there is a significant change in their vision. 
  • Repeat prescriptions can be dispensed for people who have broken or lost their spectacles and are unable to carry out day-to-day activities without their spectacles. 

Some practices that provide minor eye condition services (MECs) or similar services will provide a telephone triage system. Those patients that have potentially sight threatening eye problems will be offered an emergency appointment. This is not available in all areas and certainly not all practices. You might have to attend a different practice to your usual optician for this. You should always call first – do not attend without an appointment.  

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

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