During the Coronavirus pandemic optical practices are having to operate under very tight restrictions. In practical terms they are limited to offering emergency care only. Since these restrictions where implemented, the OCCS has helped number of consumers and practices find a way to solve challenges and difficulties as they arise.
Practices are having to balance the need for emergency optical care with public health protection for their teams, patients and the wider public.
Remember the OCCS team are available and can be contacted by phone email or an online form if you need assistance as a consumer or as a member a practice team trying to resolve an issue for a patient.
Most multiple companies are delivering spectacles and contact lenses which are ready for collection to their customers. If your practice has not contacted you we would recommend that you telephone the practice as they may have left advice on their answerphone, or email them if you have an email address for them, you may find this information on their website.
You should initially contact the practice via telephone as some practices may leave advice on their phonelines, or may be contactable by email. In these uncertain times the practice may find that some orders are delayed or will not be able to be supplied due to restraints on the manufacturing process. If you are unable to obtain any contact with a practice/company then please do call the OCCS to see if we can make contact with the practice/company on your behalf.
All practices are following government and General Optical Council guidelines regarding closure and emergency appointments. These are expected to remain in place while the initial lockdown phase continues. As restrictions are eased or lifted, advice will be issued by the government and the General Optical Council, and then followed by practices.
Routine appointments have been suspended and opticians are currently only able to see patients in an emergency. Most practices have information available on their website and will guide you further. At present, patients are being triaged over the phone and in the case of an emergency a number of practices across the UK are open to provide urgent optical care. You may have to travel further than you normally would. In an emergency situation, remember the Eye Department (Ophthalmology) of your local hospital is likely to still be receiving patients. If you are worried about symptoms such as loss of vision, flashers or floaters please contact NHS 111 and seek urgent medical attention.
This would not be considered an emergency unless you have a sudden change in vision or other ocular concerns. If you are worried about your vision or your eye health, contact the emergency practice local to you. Where there are no urgent concerns about your eye health, your optician is likely to advice routine issues such as updating glasses can wait until the current lockdown is eased.
If you pay for your contact lenses on a monthly basis with your practice then some practices are posting the contact lenses to you directly. We would recommend that you telephone the practice. The practice may be closed for routine eye examinations but are likely to have information about regular contact lens supply on their phoneline or website. You could also email the practice if you have their email address.
Practices are not conducting routine tests during the COVID19 lockdown. They have been advised by their regulator that they are able to supply contact lenses if a test is out of date and they believe it is safe to do so. They are encouraged to use their own professional judgement for supply. Please speak with your Contact Lens practitioner and discuss your situation with them. They will use their clinical judgment to decide what can be done during the current restrictions.
Practices have been advised that key workers should be given priority. Practices are advised to provide reasonable adjustments, as much as they can possibly can, to help key workers with their urgent optical care.
If you are a key worker and need urgent assistance you should telephone the practice to see if they can help you further, whilst most practices are closed they may leave information on an phone lines or provide an email address where you can contact them urgently. Larger optical companies have provided information on their websites as to how to proceed in these circumstances.
Please contact the OCCS on