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By Optometry Australia

This information is accurate at 3:00pm Friday 27 March 2020

Late yesterday our CEO Lyn Brodie spoke to one of the principal medical Advisers at the Department of Health. This was in response to the fact that during a Commonwealth Department of Health Webinar for Primary and Allied Health Professionals held yesterday morning, the Advisers indicated that in order to limit risk of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic, and not unnecessarily be exposing you or patients to potential infection, optometrists should now be exercising discretion and limiting themselves to seeing urgent cases.

We followed up immediately and based on the advice of the Department of Health, we recommend that optometrists use their clinical judgement to determine if appointments can be postponed without undue risk to patient health or well-being and that they should begin working within that framework for now.

As we previously communicated, we are developing guidelines on what optometric care should be considered essential in the event of further restrictions and any further shutdown of services. We are also working with RANZCO on collaborative approaches to ensure patients can continue to access emergency and time-sensitive care.

We want to reassure you that we have been relying heavily on advice received from the Australian Government to relay to you and of course, making every effort possible to ensure they are considering optometry and community eye health in their decision making.

When we do send information to you it will be accurate at the time of distribution, but we cannot make any guarantee that this will not change. Hence, we will continue to provide regularly updated communications and guidance to support the safe practise of optometry during this pandemic.

We also want you to know that your health and well-being, and that of your colleagues, family and the broader community is our priority and that we will continue to do everything in our power to support you and the sector during this crisis.

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In the spirit of reconciliation Optometry Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.