Coronavirus Eye Precautions - 03/18/20
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has published guidelines and recommendations regarding the Coronavirus and how best to slow the spread of the virus while guarding your eyes. A respiratory illness presenting with fever, cough, and shortness of breath, the coronavirs can show up 2 to 14 days after a person is exposed. The Academy reports" the virus particles from a sick person can land on your face and enter your mouth or nose BUT also enter through your eyes". The virus can spread via tears or by touching a surface where tears have landed. Experts say," if you see someone with "pink eye", don't panic. It doesn't mean the person is infected with coronavirus. Health officials believe viral pink eye or viral conjunctivitis develops in 1-3% of people with coronavirus"
Commonsense Precautions Prevail:
If you are coming in to our office for a follow up appointment or an urgent or emmergent eye concern, know you will see some changes in the office that you might not normally see. Dr. Kriegstein, Dr. Townshend, Dr. Kenney and Dr. Bates, along with staff will be wearing protective gear as we follow strict hygiene and disinfection guidelines. Hand sanitizer and sinks with soap and water are readily available for our patients as they enter our office. The front office staff may ask you to wait in your car instead of our front office, and call you on your cell phone when it is time to see the doctor. This is in an effort to practice "physical distancing". During your exam, the doctor will use a micrscope outfitted with a special plastic barrier called a "breath shield". This provides another layer of protection for our patients and our doctors. If you anticipate a cough or sneeze during your exam, sit back in the exam chair, turn your head and cover your mouth with your elbow. Once the microscope exam is completed, your doctor will distance, review your diagnosis and plan, and answer any questions.
Follow good contact lens hygiene remembering to wash your hands before inserting your lenses in your eyes. You may want to consider wearing your glasses to reduce eye irritation and the urge to rub your eyes. The eyeglass lens, although not 100% effective in preventing virus droplets entering your eye, can act as another layer of protection as well as a physical reminder not to touch your eyes and face.
Watch closely that your eye drop medications do not get so low that a delay in filling your prescription could put you at risk. We are aware of the critical work your pharmacists provide and understand they may be effected by containment activities, as well. We are here to help. Our staff is available answering the phones assisting with questions, concerns, rescheduling, and prescription requests.
As we enter pollen season this spring, it may be very difficult to break the natural habit of rubbing your eyes. If you must reach up to your eyes, do so with a tissue. Try an anti-itch over-the-counter eye drop or call for a recommendation for a prescribed drop to break the irritating cycle, reducing the urge to rub. If your eyes are feeling dry, that may be another trigger to rub your eyes. Keep your eyes lubricated with artificial tears and it is always a good healthy practice to increase your water intake. Always, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds+ prior to using your eye drops. Do not touch the tip of the bottle to your eye.
All elective eye surgery will be on hold until we get the word it is safe to proceed. Janice, our Surgical Coordinator will work with all our patients during the rescheduling process. Patients with concerning eye conditions will be given priority in the scheduling process. As always, we appreciate our patients, their concern for all of our staff and moreover their sense of humor in these anxious times.
We will continue to be vigilant, following the updates from the Centers for Disease Control and adhering to safe practices. Check on our Associated Eye Surgeons Facebook page for updates regarding clinic hours and closures.