ICO Statement - Important Advice for the Public and Eye Care Patients during COVID-19

Prof William Power, Clinical Lead for Ophthalmology and Spokesperson for the Irish College of Ophthalmologists

These are very challenging times for our healthcare workers, patients and for the wider population as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic in this country. 

I understand COVID-19 may be causing significant concerns to the public and eye care patients who are looking to access ophthalmic services at this time.  
The College is following the national guidance and direction instructed by the Department of Health, HSE and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and all hospitals are acting in accordance with these guidelines in order to minimise the risk of infection spread. 
While all elective and routine ophthalmology work has been postponed at this time, I wish to reassure patients that if you or any of your family members experience sudden vision loss or significant pain in your eye, it is important that you contact your eye doctor and seek medical advice. 
Patients with emergencies are and will continue to be cared for.  Measures are in place in ophthalmology hospital departments to ensure that urgent ophthalmic patients can be seen. A telephone triage is in place, with appointments available for patients who are concerned about sight loss or pain. 
Community ophthalmology services are also available to offer advice and triage patients needs, including to process requests for repair/replacement of spectacles, consult about patching regimes, re- issue prescriptions for medications, discuss concerns, liaise with GPs, Hospital colleagues and Optometrists and, in some areas see emergencies (face-to face). 
The ICO continues to follow direction from the State and support the measures mandated by the Government.  Our primary concern is for the welfare and safety of patients and our healthcare staff during this pandemic and we will continue to provide advice, care and support in this regard.
Further information and guidance on COVID-19 measures provided to the public from trusted, official sources are available on the our site here    
Professor William Power is the Clinical Lead for Ophthalmology, and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin.



8th April 2020