The following is an urgent update regarding Covid-19 from the Ministry of Health, issued by the New Zealand Association of Optometrists (NZAO) and the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board (ODOB)
FROM THE ODOB BOARD
Further to our earlier communications regarding Covid-19, an update has been received from the Ministry of Health agreeing that Optometrists may assist in the delivery of 'emergency and acute' eye care during the lock down period. This applies to emergency and acute therapeutic care only and does not extend to day-to-day routine examinations or the sale of products or devices.
This care must be delivered in an environment where the strict Covid-19 protocols specified by the Government can be observed, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and phone triage should be undertaken first before proceeding to have a patient attend an optometry practice. Following consultation (via phone and/or in person), if necessary, the optometrist should consider collaborative care with ophthalmology.
The ODOB Board and the NZAO recommend that optometrists exercise extreme caution in the delivery of any emergency and acute therapeutic care during this time, and continue to pay close attention to their own personal safety as well as the safety of others with the primary objective of restricting the transmission of Covid-19.
Full information relating to 'essential services' can be found here: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-health-advice-general-public/covid-19-essential-services-health-and-disability-system.
Information about PPE can be found here: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-information-specific-audiences/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-resources-health-professionals/covid-19-questions-and-answers-primary-health-care-workers
If any further updates relevant to optometry become available, these will be communicated as soon as possible.
Jayesh Chouhan, Board Chair & Rochelle van Eysden, NZAO President