In some cases, waiting until lockdown is over to see your optometrist might not be a good idea. Here’s how to tell if your vision issue requires an urgent appointment.

Eye test

Currently most Bupa Optical stores are closed due to the pandemic, however as restrictions begin to lift around Australia we’ve decided it’s time to start reopening our temporarily closed stores. Find out when your local store will reopen. If your store is currently closed, how do you know if your eye problem needs urgent attention?

Urgent eye care includes emergency situations such as trauma to the eye, eye pain or sudden changes to your vision. Urgent eye care also includes any issue that is impacting your ability to function normally, says Bupa optometrist Karen Makin.

The lockdown means many people may be looking at screens more often, in different lighting and at closer range than they used to, says Makin, which may bring signs and symptoms of eye problems including headaches to the fore.

“Because that affects a person’s day-to-day activities, we’re classing that as urgent,” she says. “If you’re not able to do something that you want or need to do because of eye problems, then please come in and see us.”

Should I see my optometrist?

If you are experiencing any of the following, please don’t delay — contact the Bupa Optical team to make an appointment.

  • Sudden changes to your vision, including flashes or floaters, or loss of vision
  • Pain, discomfort or red eye
  • Indications of an eye infection or something in your eye
  • Broken or lost spectacles (if it’s difficult to function normally without them)
  • Anxiety or distress about your eye health or vision
  • Contact lens complications
  • Any issue for which a healthcare practitioner has referred you to an optometrist.

And if you’re an essential worker experiencing vision or eye problems, that’s also cause for an urgent appointment.

What should I do if I need an appointment?

If you have need of an urgent eye consultation — even if you’re not completely sure whether your issue is ‘urgent’ — Makin recommends you call the Bupa Optical customer care line on 1300 664 142 or email optical.customercare@bupa.com.au. In some cases, an optometrist may be able to help you over the phone. If they think your issue needs a face-to-face consultation, you’ll be given instructions on what steps to take.

What if I have a chronic eye condition?

As some government restrictions have lifted recently, Optometry Australia is now recommending people with chronic eye conditions such as glaucoma should no longer delay their regular check-ups, says Makin. Contact the Bupa Optical customer care line on 1300 664 142 to make an appointment.