Primary Eyecare Guidelines

Primary Eyecare Guidelines

Jun 01, 2021

Primary care optometrists must understand how to adapt their working practices during the various phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. optometrists adapt their practice and working procedures to make their practices safe for patients and staff while there is still a risk of COVID-19 infection. 

Practice modifications and staff considerations 

Although this guidance is aimed at primary care optometrists. This information is included so that optometrists know what is expected in the workplace. Relevant Standards are: 

• Maintains an appropriate standard of hygiene and repair of the premises from which care is provided • Requires and enforces infection control protocols appropriate for your practice and ensures that all staff are in a position to follow them • Allows staff sufficient time, so far as possible, to accommodate patients' individual needs within the provision of care 

Infection control 

- Have hand sanitiser [at least 60% alcohol] available at the front door, and ask patients to sanitise their hands on entering the practice. 

- Disinfect everything the patient has come into contact with and frequently clean surfaces that are touched by staff if possible. This would include clinical equipment and other surfaces. Use a suitable disinfectant. All surfaces must be clean before they are disinfected. Open doors for patients, to avoid them touching the handle. If the patient touches the door handle, disinfect it. Ask patients to use their own pen to sign any forms, or sanitize any pen used. 

- If you need to focimeter patients' spectacles, ask the patient to take them off and provide the patient with a wipe to sanitise their frames before you touch them. 
- Support good practice for the use of tissues by patients and staff by having tissues and covered bins readily available. Empty the bins regularly throughout the day. 

- Tell patients and staff to practise regular hand hygiene and provide hand sanitiser in multiple locations. If you are using soap and water you should wet your hands, apply liquid soap and then rub the soap in your hands, covering all areas of your hands for at least 15 seconds before rinsing the soap off and drying your hands with a paper towel. If you are using hand sanitizer, you should apply the sanitiser to your hands, and rub all areas of your hands until the sanitizer is dry. 

- Practice hand hygiene which is extended to exposed forearms, after removing any element of personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Recommended protocols that may persist post-pandemic: 

  • Expanded personal space and appointment staggering 
  • Physicians wearing masks for routine visits 
  • Fewer family members allowed in facility during procedures 


Managing patients 

- When a patient makes an appointment, and on the day of the appointment, ask them to confirm that they are well and that no one in their household is exhibiting relevant COVID-19 symptoms 

- If the patient has symptoms of COVID-19 as well as symptoms of a life- or sight-threatening condition, do not see them in your practice. Follow local protocols or contact your local hospital eye service for advice, telling them that the patient has symptoms of COVID-19. 

- Ask patients to sanitise or wash their hands on entering and leaving the practice. 

Gowzeka Moorthy

Optometrist, Jaffna Branch.