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If you are worried about your eyesight, seek advice now. Don't wait until lockdown is over

Photo shows a female optician looking into a patient's eyes using specialist equipment
Galloway's urges people to seek help if they are worried about their vision

Taking care of your eyesight is important at all times, so we urge you to seek help if you are worried about your vision - especially during lockdown.

We understand some people may be confused over what is classed as essential treatment, so we hope to clear up the facts and ensure you get the help you need.

Under current government guidelines, many routine appointments, such as cataract operations, glaucoma reviews and diabetic screening, are being cancelled.

But urgent appointments which would, if cancelled, leave you with untreatable sight loss within three months, are still going ahead.

Galloway’s warns that you should call your optician and get advice from an eye health professional if you experience a sudden onset of any of the following symptoms:

• Loss of vision

• Loss of peripheral (side) vision

• Blurred vision

• Pain with or without discharge

• Light sensitivity

• Double vision

• Black spots or flashes of light in your vision

• Curtain-like disappearance of vision

• Disturbances in your vision

• New floating bits in your vision

• Eye injury or pain

• Seeing halos or rainbows around light

• Painful red eye

Do not ignore these symptoms or wait until after lockdown has eased as this could have an impact on your vision.

You are still expected to attend macular clinics for injections and safety precautions are in place to keep you all safe.

Appointments are spread out across the week, so waiting rooms are not busy.

Many patients are in and out relatively quickly, as hospitals do not want people sitting around. Rooms and equipment are cleaned between each appointment.

If you are taking eye drops, you should continue as normal and ensure you access prescriptions well in advance so as not to run out.

Ruth Cuthbert, optometric advisor for NHS England, Lancashire and South Cumbria, and a Trustee at Galloway’s, said: “Sudden changes to your vision such as flashes, floaters or blurry vision, or your eyes becoming red and painful, could be a sign of a more serious condition.

“At the moment, people are unable to visit their optometrist for routine eye care, but that doesn’t mean you can’t access advice.

“Many practices are still open for essential and urgent care, such as if you get something lodged in your eye. You may also be able to get help if you have a problem with your contact lenses or you’ve broken your glasses.

“Optometrists are trained to identify visual problems and many conditions and will often be able to do this via a remote consultation or will ask you to come in, if needed.

“Call your usual practice to find out, and if they are closed, they can direct you to another that is nearby.

“There’s never been a more important time to look after your eyes.”

If you feel your vision is getting worse, or have any concerns regarding your eyes, contact Glen Sheader, Eye Clinic Liaison Officer at Galloway’s, by calling 07498 369 881 or emailing

If you have symptoms associated with Coronavirus, such as watery or red eyes and a persistent dry cough or high temperature, seek advice before turning up for an appointment by using the 111 online Coronavirus service or calling 111.

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