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 continue to 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 certain 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. 
Community ophthalmologists are seeing patients whose clinical need has been triaged as necessary in a safe environment.  All COVID-19 precautions are being taken and any patient or parent of a patient should contact their clinic as necessary.
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.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information for People with Sight Loss: Information about COVID-19 vaccines for people with sight loss have been created in Braille, audio and large print. These have been distributed to NCBI members and requests can be made directly https://www.ncbi.ie/about-ncbi/contact-us/ . The large print format is also available on hse.ie.






15th February 2021