A statement from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) has recommended patients ‘not to hold back’ from seeking medical treatment for other conditions during the COVID-19 epidemic. The statement also recommends the public must be fully confident that they can and should, seek medical assistance if they have symptoms which cause concern, or they already are being treated for a serious health condition.
Many ophthalmologists are concerned that some patients may be too worried to attend appointments. RCOphth has collaborated with eye health charities to help inform patients of the necessity to attend regular appointments, unless notified otherwise, and to get in touch with their eye clinics if their vision deteriorates or causes concern. Working with the Macular Society, RCOphth has issued advice urging patients to continue receiving injections for wet AMD, and other conditions which would cause severe visual loss if not treated. The hospital eye service will continue to treat patients considered at high risk from loss of vision if not seen in time, while minimising the amount of contact patients have with other patients and with hospital staff. You can also read more about the joint efforts of RCOphth and The College of Optometrists to minimise the risk of visual loss by maintaining essential eye care in hospitals and the community here.
The key recommendations are:
- You should continue to seek NHS help through your GP, NHS111, 999 or A&E if you or your family become acutely unwell and believe that you may be suffering from a serious or life threatening condition
- You should continue with ongoing treatments for all your medical conditions and attend any hospital or GP appointments that are requested. Routine care is being carried out, where possible, through phone calls or video links so you will not be asked to attend unless absolutely necessary
- Hospitals are safer than your own home if you are in need of emergency care. The reorganisation of services includes protecting patients who are being seen for conditions other than COVID-19.
You can read the AoMRC’s full statement here.
Further information on how ophthalmologists are maintaining treatment can be found on our COVID-19 page.