Since the Commonwealth Government last week announced steps to ease restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 emergency, and the states and territories have begun to follow suit, it is expected that optometry practices will start resuming their full suite of services.
Optometry Australia, who sought clarification from Australian Government health officials after the Federal Government announcement, interprets this to mean that, provided optometrists are according with the relevant restrictions for their state and territory, and implementing stringent infection control, they can begin providing the standard suite of optometric services.
This means that many optometry practices, who may have been closed in recent weeks and months or providing only urgent care, are moving to offer their patients the range of services they typically offer.
Optometry Australia CEO Lyn Brodie said, “We expect, unless pandemic conditions change, that more will continue to do so over the coming weeks.”
“Optometrists should continue to give consideration to specific vulnerability or concerns patients may have about infection risk, and it may be appropriate to offer telehealth services to more vulnerable patients,” she said.
It’s important for Australians to remember that whilst restrictions are easing, social distance requirements remain in place and this has implications for how many people are to be allowed in a waiting room or retail space at a time, as well as proximity to one another.
This includes compliance with the ‘four square metre rule’, in which retail operators must allow entry to no more than one person for every four-square-metres of available floor space in their shop. For example, if a shop has a total floorspace of 20 square metres, then no more than five people (including staff) can be in that premises at the same time.
We recommend ringing your optometrist to confirm they are open and, if either of the following apply to you, please notify your optometrist BEFORE attending your appointment:
- You have a fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are currently required to be in self-isolation due to travel or (potential) contact with people with COVID-19
Optometrists around the country follow best practice infection control guidelines and like all health professionals in Australia have elevated these precautions in the current health climate.
Find an optometrist near you here.