Essential eye care services should be prioritised ahead of routine appointments, the College of Optometrists has said following the government’s announcement of new national restrictions in England on Saturday (October 31).

It was recommended optical practices that stay open should follow the College’s amber phase guidance during the national lockdown from November 5 to December 2.

The College said practitioners should consider the clinical needs and presenting symptoms relative to the risk of sight loss and harm to the patient when prioritising appointments.

Routine appointments can be provided once all urgent and essential appointments have been managed, plus sufficient time should be allowed to carry out safe testing and infection control procedures.

It noted that recommendations could change depending on a vote on restrictive measures in Parliament on Wednesday (November 4).