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CORONAVIRUS AND YOUR EYES: Your Retina Specialist will treat urgent/emergency eye issues

You may feel nervous about going to a doctor’s office during the pandemic. But eye emergencies must be treated right away. Rest assured that your ophthalmologist, like all medical professionals, follows very strict hygiene and disinfection guidelines.

Ophthalmologists are available to treat urgent eye issues, deliver eye injections and provide critical care.

Call your ophthalmologist or other medical doctor as soon as possible in the following situations: • You have macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy and get regular eye injections • You notice changes in your vision (like blurry, wavy or blank spots in your field of vision)

• You have an eye injury, even if it seems minor • You notice a lot of new floaters or flashes in your vision • You suddenly lose some vision • You have eye pain, headache, red eye, nausea and vomiting

Here are ways your ophthalmologist will work to protect patient health in the office or clinic during the coronavirus pandemic.

Expect changes to eye exams and procedures: • The clinic may ask you to wait outside, or in your car, instead of in the normal waiting room. This is to protect you, the other patients, and the office staff from possible virus exposure in crowded waiting areas. • The clinic is likely restricting the number of people that enter. If you do not need someone to be there with you, please do not bring anyone to your appointment. • Your eye doctor may use a special plastic breath shield on the slit-lamp machine they use to look into your eyes. They may also wear a mask with a plastic shield over their eyes. • Your doctor may ask you to wait to speak until after your eye exam is complete. Then they can talk with you and answer questions when they can be a safe distance from you. • Some practices may use telemedicine for “virtual” visits over the phone or video chat over a computer. You will be asked to follow precautions: • If you have a cough or a fever, or have been in close contact with someone who has these symptoms, you must call your doctor’s office ahead of time and let them know. If your visit is not an emergency, you may need to stay home. • If you arrive sick, your doctor may ask you to wear a protective covering or mask, and to wait in a special room away from other patients. • If you need to cough or sneeze during your exam, move back from the microscope. Bury your face in the crook of your arm or cover your face with a tissue. Wash your hands with soap and water right away.

Excerpt Taken from Article: Eye Care During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Written By: Reena Mukamal

Reviewed By: Sonal S Tuli MD

Edited By: Anni Delfaro

Mar. 10, 2020

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