World Health Organization survey aims to collect optometrists' experiences of COVID-19

The anonymous online survey will take 15 minutes to complete and aims to show the impact of the pandemic on Europe’s rehabilitation workforce

A young brown haired woman has eye pressure measured whilst wearing a COVID-19 mask
Getty/Dobrila Vignjevic

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Europe is set to release a wide-ranging survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the rehabilitation workforce.

The online survey will gather information on service delivery and the effects of the pandemic on Europe’s rehabilitation professionals, which includes optometrists.

It aims to collect data from rehabilitation workers in the UK, Poland, Italy, Georgia, and Armenia.

The countries were chosen in order to ensure a geographic range and to create a broad picture across nations with different levels of rehabilitation workforce, WHO Europe’s Justine Gosling, who is leading on the project, said.

The aim is to gather information on ‘the long-term impact and innovations of COVID-19’ rather than to compare situations across different countries, Gosling shared.

She added that ministers for health in all countries represented have been involved in creating the survey, as have WHO representatives in each country.

“We haven't seen anything that evaluates the impact of COVID-19 on rehabilitation professionals,” Gosling said, adding that the data that is emerging now does not focus on rehabilitation workers and is not multi-country, so is “not really looking at the broader picture and what that means for the future of workforce and service delivery.”

The WHO defines rehabilitation as “a set of interventions designed to optimise functioning and reduce disability in individuals with health conditions in interaction with their environment.”

Optometrists are being encouraged to respond to the survey, which will take 15 minutes to complete, and to share it with colleagues.

Posters with QR codes and social media tiles with links to the survey will be shared in due course so that colleagues can share it as widely as possible, Gosling said.

The survey will be released on 4 September, and will be open for around six weeks. All responses will be anonymous.

Gosling added: “We want to show the contribution that rehabilitation professionals made, [and] have them acknowledged as being frontline workers who were really making a difference and impacted by this as well.”