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#57 Eye Appointments and COVID-19 -

Many eye doctors are not having routine appointments during the virus pandemic. They are only having emergency visits. This results in patient questions:

  • What is an eye emergency?
  • Are eye injections considered urgent?
  • Do I continue in the clinical trial that I am in?
  • What if I have a change in my vision?
  • How can I connect with others?

First, if you do not know if your condition is urgent, call your doctor and ask? Especially call. Don’t just walk in. It’s possible the office might want you to come in, or they may be able to handle your problem with telemedicine.   Telemedicine allows you to receive care and answers all in the comfort and safety of your own home. You see the doctor on your computer screen, and he sees you. Like Facetime. This means you can sometimes avoid a doctor visit.

If your doctor thinks you ought to be seen, you might be asked to wear a face mask and sit in a separate waiting area away from others. Some doctors even require you to remain in your car until they telephone and ask you to come in. Even though I always recommend someone goes with you to make notes about what the doctor says, some doctors are asking that your driver/companion remain in the car during your appointment. If that happens, you could ask, “My driver is healthy + wears a mask, can he please come in with me?”

Non-urgent situations, routine eye exams, and surgeries (possibly cataract) can often wait. Eye injuries, sudden vision changes, and problems that can permanently affect vision can not wait. If you don’t know if your situation will affect vision, call.

Some clinical trials might continue, and some might be put on hold. It often depends on the location of the trial (and virus numbers in that location) and how much travel is involved.

Some eye injections are urgent, and some are not. It depends on your situation. Call and ask.

Many low vision support group meetings have been canceled due to the virus. These group meetings are super important to anyone with low vision. Check out my very first blog (link to #1) for some of the reasons the meetings are helpful. With canceled meetings, why not call a friend and ask how they are doing? Some meetings are happening via zoom. This means that you can attend even if the meeting is far from where you live.

We hear so much about the importance of handwashing during this virus epidemic. When you touch a doorknob, you don’t know if someone with the virus touched it. Hand washing is super important. Did you ever keep track of how often you touch your eyes? It’s so easy to rub your eyes without thinking. Yet if your hands are contaminated, you might be introducing infection.

It becomes easy to have a sense of false protection when you wear a mask but remember the mask does not protect your eyes. The best way to protect your eyes is to remember social distancing, washing your hands, and avoid touching your face.  

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