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Ophthalmology and Optometry: Our vision for safe and sustainable patient eye care services in England during and beyond COVID-19

13 August 2020

With the pandemic continuing to affect the way primary and secondary eye care services are provided for patients in England. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) and The College of Optometrists have developed a joint vision to support our workforce and the commissioning of safe and sustainable eye care services that meet the needs of all patients, improving patient care and outcomes during and beyond the pandemic.

Delays to treatment in the hospital eye service (HES) and the current measures in place to protect people from acquiring COVID-19 will undoubtedly lead to vision loss that in normal circumstances would have been preventable, as additional safety measures further reduce capacity. As the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted it is important to develop more integrated eye care between the hospital eye service, community settings and primary care optometry and to build on the COVID-19 urgent eye care service (CUES) to develop similar co-ordinated services for more eye conditions.

As we look to the future, we want to continue the positive, collaborative working relationships between primary and secondary care that have developed to combat the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on ophthalmic patient care. We do not want to return to traditional ways of working that did not protect patients from harmful delays and this joint vision will help ensure these changes are made.

You can read our joint vision here