| 17.9°C Dublin

Optometrists urge people to attend to help ease waiting lists


Close

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, eye-care already had one of the longest waiting lists. Stock photo: PA

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, eye-care already had one of the longest waiting lists. Stock photo: PA

PA

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, eye-care already had one of the longest waiting lists. Stock photo: PA

Optometrists reopening from today have urged people to attend, to help alleviate long waiting lists.

As part of phase one of the Government's roadmap for reopening society and business, opticians and optometrists are allowed to reopen today, along with outlets providing hearing test services or selling hearing aids.

The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) has urged people with eye-care needs to attend as soon as they can, to help take pressure away from other areas of the healthcare system.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, eye-care already had one of the longest waiting lists.

The AOI is meeting with the Health Minister Simon Harris today to discuss the measures being taken and also what optometrists can do to help alleviate the further increased eye-care waiting lists and demand.

All services, both urgent and non-urgent, including routine eye exams, will be available again from today, however social distancing and patient safety measures will be followed.

Another topic likely to be discussed in the AOI's meeting with Mr Harris is prescribing rights for optometrists.

AOI president Patricia Dunphy said that the profession should be granted prescribing rights for antibiotic eye-drops to streamline services.

"There are a number of conditions where an optometrist completes an examination and makes a diagnosis, but must then refer the patient back to the GP for their prescription.

"This includes widely used topical antibiotics for conjunctivitis, blepharitis and removal of corneal foreign bodies. We are also now in the hay-fever period of the year. Optometrists are already suitably qualified to fast-track this," she said.

Ms Dunphy said that adaptations under current safety requirements would be made to practices.

A two-metre separation will be enforced and contact with equipment will be minimised with the tools sterilised after use.

Where close examinations are required, PPE will be used and recommended protocols followed.

Irish Independent