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What Will Optometry Practices Look Like Post-COVID?

COVID-19’s rapid sweep across the country has forced optical practices to make rapid clinical management decisions. Some optometrists temporarily shuttered their businesses due to the pandemic, while others began to offer emergency appointment services and telehealth.

 

As mandatory restrictions begin to lift in many locations, optometrists are beginning to open their doors for routine care. But this time around they will implement strict social distancing guidelines and take unprecedented precautions to limit the spread of infection.

Some of the Changes You Should Expect to See

 

1) Signage throughout the office spelling out new steps and protocols to ensure maximum safety for staff and patients alike.

 

2) Social distancing will be the new norm. Packed waiting rooms will be a thing of the past. Instead, clinics will be spacing out seating to reduce capacity and scheduling in longer intervals to minimize patient interactions.

 

3) Certain practices will require appointments for individuals to see and try on the array of frames and sunglasses.

 

4) Methods will be introduced to decrease the number of surfaces a patient touches. This will include facilitating cashless payments.

 

5) Patients who aren’t feeling well or who have been in contact with someone who is ill will be asked to reschedule their appointment.

 

6) There will be more time between appointments, to allow the staff to thoroughly clean and disinfect before and after each patient’s visit.

 

7) Many eye practitioners will be wearing safety goggles and face masks, particularly during any up-close contact with the patient. Patients may also be asked to wear masks.

 

8) Individuals with suspected eye infections will be put in a special area or examined remotely through the use of technology.

 

9) Practices will frequently wipe down any patient area, including chairs, counters and doorknobs. Every exam room will be completely disinfected between appointments. In the dispensary, frames will be promptly disinfected after patients touch them.

10) Patients and staff will be requested to wash or disinfect their hands upon entering the office. Village Optical in Winnipeg has strict hygiene and sterilization protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infections.

If you’re dealing with a vision or eye health issue and need to visit Village Optical, or if you would like some more information on how we have adapted our practice due to COVID-19, please don’t hesitate in contacting us. We’ll be happy to assist you however we can.

Village Optical serves patients from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Why You Shouldn’t Visit the ER for Eye Emergencies During COVID-19

On April 22, the American Optometric Association (AOA) urged patients with emergency eye care needs to get in touch with their local optometrist prior to seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Doing so not only eases the burden on emergency departments but also helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What Is Considered an Eye Emergency?

Most eye-related conditions can be treated in an outpatient optometry office or clinic. Emergency eye care includes, but is not limited to, urgent clinical advice or intervention for eye injuries and conditions that entail a foreign object in the eye, chemical burns, a sudden change in vision, flashes and floaters (which might suggest a retinal detachment), contact lens discomfort, and red eyes.

Prioritizing Your Eye Care Needs During COVID-19

During the coronavirus outbreak, we have been going above and beyond to ensure that people are receiving the emergency eye care they need.

Patients should first contact Village Optical for guidance and potential treatment prior to heading to an overwhelmed hospital emergency room. One of our optometrists can assess the level of care the patient needs—whether it’s telehealth or urgent care that requires a visit to the eye clinic or the emergency room.

This will ensure that patients get prompt treatment while allowing hospitals to conserve their resources for the current pandemic. In fact, research has shown that treating eye emergencies at eye doctors’ offices can potentially divert 1.4 million patients away from emergency rooms per year.

Village Optical at Winnipeg continues to provide emergency care for those who need it. We’d like to reassure our patients that we are here to help with anyone’s emergency eye care requirements – for both for new and existing patients.

References:

https://www.visionmonday.com/eyecare/coronavirus-briefing/crisis-response-tactics/article/aoa-cautions-patients-against-avoidable-er-visits-for-primary-eyecare-services-during-covid19-pandemic/