A letter that acknowledged the work of all optical professionals during the pandemic has been signed by the professional and government bodies.

It noted that eye care professionals continue to ‘work tirelessly to address the backlog of care’ created by Covid-19 and deliver the best care for patients.

The letter stated: ‘For primary eye care teams, we understand the impact of asking you to scale back care in March and we appreciate your sterling efforts to resume service provision to support patients.’

Signees noted that they wanted optometrists and dispensing opticians to always use their professional judgement to assess risk and deliver safe care by adhering to professional standards.

‘The national standard operating procedures remain your guides and we expect all registrants to follow General Optical Council (GOC) guidance in using their judgement in applying the principles of best practice to the situations they face,’ the letter said.

They added that practitioners may find themselves working outside their usual scope of practise and that this could be stressful because of concerns about professional practicalities and implications of working in such circumstances.

The letter was signed by: Raymond Curran, head of ophthalmic services at the Health and Social Care Board Northern Ireland; Colin Davidson, president of the College of Optometrists; Sir Anthony Garrett, general secretary of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians; Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director for primary care at NHS England and NHS Improvement; Lesley Longstone, registrar and chief executive at the GOC; David O’Sullivan, chief optometric advisor for the Welsh Government; and Dr Janet Pooley, optometric advisor for the Scottish Government.