Advice regarding COVID-19
For advice on the current COVID-19 pandemic please see the interim guidance for primary care providers published by NHS England which can be found here:
The college of optometrists has published a very useful series of FAQs which you can view on their website. It is updated daily with guidance as the situation changes:
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has recently issued guidance recommending the use of facemasks at the slit lamp and is advising that clinicians refrain from talking whilst at the slit lamp. The use of gloves and gowns is still not recommended.
The college of optometrists has recommended that optometrists should also follow these measures.
You may be aware that optical practices have now been added to the list of primary care providers who require appropriate PPE. However, at this time it is not clear how we will access it.
The LOC has also been made aware of the following guidelines issued to ophthalmologists in The Ophthalmology Journal (April 2020, No Time for Tears) Although they are not specific to optometrists, they may be of interest to you.
- Any instrument or surface the patient contacts should be disinfected before and after the patient exam. SARS-CoV-2 is very stable on stainless steel and plastic surfaces, lasting several days. Surface disinfection with one minute of exposure time of 0.1% sodium hypochlorite or 70% ethanol significantly reduces virus infectivity on surfaces
- Intraocular pressure should be checked with a disposable device. Tonometry using forced air should be avoided as microaersol droplets are generated. Multi-use tonometry devices should be cleaned per prior published guidelines
- Obtain most pre-visit information as well as post-visit discussion of assessment and plan
remotely (e.g. via telephone or video).
- Consider screening visual acuity remotely
- Clinical examinations should be focused on only what is required to make a critical diagnosis.
- Imaging should be obtained only if results could change management.
- Social distancing in waiting rooms should be enforced.
- Face masks can be considered for patients.
- Slit-lamp shields between the examiner and patient may be installed.
- The ophthalmologist should consider an N95 mask and eye protection while at the slit lamp.
Finally, if you have any concerns or questions regarding the current situation please contact a member of the LOC and we will do our best to help. For anybody who is struggling with their wellbeing during this crisis, the AOP peer support line remains open. They can be contacted confidentially on 0800 870 8410.
LOC contact numbers:
Derek Dunstone 07742 969601
Geoff Peacock 07718 988213
David Hill 07986 778176
WELCOME TO THE SUFFOLK LOCAL OPTICAL COMMITTEE (LOC)
The LOC represents all optometrists and dispensing opticians working in Suffolk. We liaise and negotiate with Suffolk CCG on matters relating to eye care.
In addition we aim to provide information on shared care schemes and news of local events. We also organise a full series of CET events throughout the year across Suffolk (please see our events page for details).
Members of the public seeking information about optometry in Suffolk are advised to contact their local optician. To find an optician with NHS Choices: Click here