Coronavirus (COVID-19): how to provide a sight test

Advice to members about providing sight tests during the coronavirus outbreak, and our editable remote consultation form

Sight test

On the 1 April NHS England published advice saying that routine sight testing should no longer be taking place. Instead patients should only be seen if they require “essential” or “urgent or emergency” eye care.

The first and perhaps most important consideration is whether you need to see the patient at all, or can you help them in another way?


If you must see the patient to be able to provide help


  • Minimise contact time
  • Only perform tests you need to; this may include fundus photos or auto-refraction
  • Be prepared to recall the patient for other tests at a later date
  • Modify your routine
  • Make sure you have the protective equipment you require
  • Keep careful records noting COVID-19
  • Provide verbal and written advice to the patient. This should include what to do if things change or get worse
  • Make sure you dispose of PPE correctly

Do not

  • See routine patients
  • Perform aerosol generating procedures (including NCT)
  • Perform non clinically indicated clinical tests

We have produced a remote consultation form to help you. It can also be used to reduce contact time with the patient by getting a staff member to complete part one at over two meters, or for the patient to self-complete, with suitable infection control of pens, clipboards and similar items.