The Optical Confederation’s (OC) Domiciliary Eyecare Committee (DEC) has highlighted the importance of eye health and vision care in a statement today (5 June 2020).
It has also issued guidance to support the provision of eyecare to adults who are ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ and ‘clinically vulnerable’, as well as those who are unable to leave home owing to physical or mental ill-health or disability.
The OC stated: “As well as patients who cannot leave home for non-Covid reasons, 2.5 million people in the UK are now shielding on medical advice. Many more people have been advised to physically isolate or have chosen to do so based on their risk assessments, because of the pandemic.
“Vision is crucial for people in isolation for social functioning and mental health reasons. Such groups will also be highly vulnerable to eye disease because of age and other conditions, and they will have seen their eye health deteriorate during the past 10 weeks of lockdown.
“Much more is now known about the disease and how it is spread than in March. Also, personal protective equipment and rigorous infection prevention and control are in place to protect patients, staff and the public. As a result, eyecare can be safely provided in private homes and care home settings using ‘remote first’ and ‘safety first’ principles based on assessed risk for each patient and location.”
Gordon Ilett, co-chair of the DEC, commented: “Vision and healthy eyes are critical to people who cannot leave home, may have other long-term conditions or who are isolating. Eye disease is insidious and can be catastrophic. We must not fail the most vulnerable in society by denying them the eyecare they need to stay fit and well.”