Important Message for Eyecare During the Covid-19 Pandemic
For the public’s health and safety, optometrists, ophthalmologists and other doctors are being urged to see patients only for urgent or emergency problems during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The importance of this:
- Limiting contact between patients and staff in offices, waiting rooms, exams rooms, and surgical facilities helps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus;
- Conserve vital disposable medical supplies (like masks, gloves, face shields, and sanitizing wipes, etc.) helps for use in hospitals where they are most needed right now.
Guidelines from PreventBlindness.org
Urgent care is defined as medical care provided for illnesses or injuries that require prompt attention but are typically not of such seriousness as to require the services of an emergency room. Emergency care is defined as medical care for conditions requiring prompt medical attention due to a sudden change in the eye or visual health. If you’re uncertain whether or not your condition is urgent or emergent, contact your eye care provider (ophthalmologist or optometrist) immediately.
You will likely find that routine patient visits, such as annual dilated eye exams, exams for glasses, and general eye health check-ups, will be rescheduled likely for a few months. Any non-emergent or non-urgent eye surgeries and procedures, for example cataract surgery, will also be postponed. Urgent and emergent situations may include exams, treatments, and surgeries for eye injuries, retinal detachments, and other eye problems resulting in acute vision loss that may be permanent if not treated sooner. Contact your eye care provider’s office BEFORE traveling to the office to check whether your appointment is cancelled or not.
Plan ahead: If your appointment will still occur, talk to the eye care provider’s office by phone about any safety precautions you should take for the visit. In addition, please let the office know if you have a cough or a fever, or have been in close contact with someone who has these symptoms. Offices have implemented screening and cleaning procedures to preserve the health and safety of the office staff and patients who needed to be seen.
Be sure to call your eye care provider for guidance in the following situations:
- You have an eye disease (such as macular degeneration or diabetes-related retinopathy) and receive regular eye injections;
- You have any vision treatments that are routinely applied at the eye care provider’s office, and you are uncertain whether these are considered urgent care;
- You suddenly lose or notice changes in your vision (such as blurred vision, wavy areas of vision, or blank spots in your field of vision);
- You notice a lot of new floaters or flashes of light in your vision;
- You have eye pain, headache, red eye, nausea, and vomiting.
For more information on Corona Virus Eye Safety, visit the resources available through the American Academy of Ophthalmology and/or the American Optometric Association.
For more helpful eye care and vision care tips, please visit our main blog page.
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Optometric Association