Are opticians open in Scotland? Rules for Boots, Asda and Specsavers explained as country remains in phase 3

Lockdown restrictions are slowly easing, with non-essential shops now open – but have opticians reopened?

Lockdown restrictions in Scotland are now gradually easing, with non-essentials retailers now open and hairdressers set to reopen on 15 July.

But when are opticians set to reopen for routine appointments? And what should you do if you have an eyecare emergency? Here’s what you need to know.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his chief aide Dominic Cummings both claimed this week that having coronavirus had affected their eyesight (Photo: Shutterstock)
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When did opticians close?

Opticians ceased running routine appointments when the country entered into lockdown on 23 March.

When will opticians be allowed to open?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Thursday 9 July that from Monday 13 July “community optometry practices will further increase their services, especially for emergency and essential eye care”.

Ms Sturgeon then announced on 30 July that routine eye care services can be provided within community eye care practices and also in the homes of patients, from 3 August.

What do I do if I have an eye care emergency?

Many opticians have still been operating for urgent and essential eye care.

The Specsavers website explains that if you’re having any problems with your eyes, the best thing to do is to call your local store, who will ask you some questions about your symptoms and will be able to arrange either an essential appointment, over the phone or with their RemoteCare service.

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They will then let you know whether you should come into store for an urgent appointment.

They may even refer to you to an eye emergency department. If you do need to come into store, the chain is following government guidelines to make this as safe as possible.

Vision Express, Asda Opticians and Boots Opticians have also remained open for urgent and emergency appointments, but again, not all branches are yet open.

You are advised to call your local branch if you have a problem, so the optician can assess your situation and whether or not you need to be seen face to face.

What is essential eye care?

This includes, but is not limited to appointments for patients who would not normally be considered to be emergencies, but where a delay in an examination could be detrimental to a patient’s sight or wellbeing.

This could include situations where patients have broken or lost their glasses or contact lenses and need a replacement pair to function.

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What is urgent or emergency eye care?

This is where urgent clinical advice or intervention is needed, e.g. for red eye, contact lens discomfort, foreign objects, sudden change in vision, flashes and floaters, or where the patient has been advised to attend a practice by NHS 111 or another healthcare professional for urgent eye care.