The Macular Society, along with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists has asked hospitals across the UK to write to patients to ensure they continue to attend their sight-saving injections, amid the current coronavirus outbreak.
Following government advice to avoid crowded spaces, many patients have become increasingly concerned about attending busy eye clinics. The Macular Society has become concerned many patients have started to cancel appointments unnecessarily and have been risking their sight as a result.
The Society is keen that hospitals communicate the measures being put in place to ensure patient safety at this time.
Hospitals and eye professionals are receiving regular guidance from The Royal College of Ophthalmologists as well as Public Health England to ensure everything possible is being done to make sure patients receive their eye injections in a safe environment.
Hospital eye units are being asked to take the following actions:
- Cancel all non-urgent care and treatment
- Reduce crowding in waiting rooms by using other waiting areas and making sure that not too many patients arrive at the same time
- Identify the most vulnerable patients who have other serious health conditions, as well as the most elderly patients, and make sure that they are kept away from other patients, for example with separate waiting areas
- Consider using long-lasting drugs or increasing the time between injections where it is safe to do so
- Reduce the number of tests that are done to the safe minimum, and ensure tests and treatment are delivered more efficiently, so that patients spend less time in the clinic
- All staff must strictly observe increased infection control procedures and national isolation policies
- Patients with symptoms of the coronavirus are not brought into the eye clinic
- Where possible, offer telephone or video consultations for patients who may not need an injection
- We hope these measures will give patients confidence that everything is being done to ensure that they can continue to have their injections safely.
If patients have any particular concerns that can discuss these with their local eye clinic directly.
Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, said: "We realise this is a worrying time for patients so it is important for them to understand what is being done by hospitals to keep them safe. We believe that injections must continue where it is necessary to save sight and are encouraged by all of the safety measures being put in place.”
For more information, please call the Macular Society’s Advice and Information service on 0300 3030 111 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.