Is it safe to go for Eye Consultation During this Covid-19 Pandemic?

States have reopened health care access and doctors of optometry across the country are safely providing the full range of comprehensive eye health and vision care once again.

Some of these consultations include essential routine and urgent care, emergencies, telehealth consultations and more.

Keeping one’s eye health in check can help ensure patients are seeing their best and meeting individual visual needs related to their occupations, avocations, and lifestyle.

Whether you have eye health or urgent care needs, concerns about your eyes or vision—such as digital eye strain or dry eyes—or it’s time for a comprehensive eye exam or contact lens evaluation, patients are encouraged to schedule appointments with their local doctor of optometry for their essential primary eye care needs.

What is considered “urgent, emergency, or essential” care?

Urgent visits may include medical visits related to systemic and ocular disease or injury where there is significant risk of permanent vision loss because of any postponement of care.

They may also include visits where patients complain about discomfort and other symptoms that significantly interfere with day-to-day function.

What are some examples of an eye emergency?

  • Trauma to the eye.
  • Red-eye.
  • Painful eye.
  • Flashes of light.
  • Floaters in vision.
  • Strange or sudden changes in vision.
  • Monitoring of a condition where a postponement may cause permanent vision loss.

What should I do if there’s an eye-related emergency?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rapidly evolve and place unprecedented strain on the Nigerian healthcare system, patients with urgent or emergency eye care needs are urged to consult their local doctor of optometry before seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms.

These actions will help reduce burdens on overwhelmed emergency departments and reduce your exposure to COVID-19 to combat further community spread and a wider outbreak.

What precautions are optometry practices taking to ensure their offices are as safe as possible?

Optometry offices are implementing new protocols to provide the care patients are seeking in a safe and healthy environment.

While changes may vary from state-to-state as well as individual practice locations, patients can be assured that doctors of optometry are adhering to guidance from the Federal Ministry of Health.

These not only include strict protocols for cleaning and sterilization, but measures to effectively manage patient flow and encourage physical distancing.

Some of the new procedures patients can anticipate include screening for symptoms of COVID-19 and taking patients’ temperature upon their arrival at the facility, limiting the number of guests allowed in waiting rooms, and requiring everyone to wear a facemask and/or gloves before entering the office.

What else can I do to avoid potential risks during my visit?

In addition to following office procedures, patients can use the following recommendations to help prepare for their visit:

  • Notify your doctor if you or anyone in your household display any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms, such as loss of the sense of smell or taste, or have fever or cough, consult with your primary care provider first unless you are experiencing ocular-related emergency warning signs.
  • Continue to keep about six feet between yourself and others. A cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands while in the office.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Bring hand sanitizer with you in case you are unable to wash your hands as necessary.

Am I allowed to bring someone with me to my appointment?

Many health care offices will request that you attend your appointment without accompaniment unless you require assistance.

If you do need assistance, alert the staff to your needs to help the office manage patient flow efficiently.

Do I have to wear a mask to enter the office?

The use of a facemask or cloth face cover that covers your nose and mouth and gloves are strongly recommended, and may even be required to enter a healthcare facility.

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