OPTICIANS have now reopened in Scotland and the Royal National Institute for the Blind is urging people to resume treatment and eye examinations which may prevent later sight loss.

Eye examinations are free in Scotland and can spot the first signs of sight problems when impairment of vision can be arrested or even reversed.

The coronavirus has eclipsed other concerns in the public consciousness lately, but we still have to be aware of maintaining our wider health, including our eyes. That's why it's very important we still go for regular eye examinations and continue treatment that can save sight.

The charity is pointing to a recent survey by ophthalmic professionals that found that up to 50 per cent of people with acute or urgent eye conditions, including age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of sight loss in Britain, had missed appointments during the peak of lockdown.

The emphasis is on ensuring a safe environment and experience for patients and staff. So while appointments may be a little different as we closely follow Government guidelines, optometrists can now offer a wide spectrum of eyecare, including routine exams, which are crucial in maintaining eye health and reducing avoidable sight loss.

The sector is also embracing technology to continue to offer remote services where appropriate, something we are keen to encourage as we move into a new reality of care. We encourage patients to phone their local optometrist in the first instance, who will assess whether they are best served remotely or in practice and will make an appointment as necessary.

Home visits will be available for those who can't attend a practice without assistance. This could be someone who is shielding, needs the support of carers, is unable to travel to a practice, or is temporarily injured. Most parts of a routine eye exam can be carried out and a broad spectrum of treatment can be administered too.


director of RNIB Scotland.