A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

Accessing Critical Eyecare Services in this Time of Coronavirus

by Damion Wasylow 20 April 2020 00:14 AM

covid-19 graphic
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has substantially impacted availability and access to a variety of goods and services around the globe, including eyecare. As ophthalmology and optometry practices in the U.S. limit delivery of non-emergency procedures, how can you still get access to eyecare you truly need?

The most important thing to know is that if you DO have an eyecare emergency, eye doctors are still available to diagnose and treat you. In an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), however, the US. Surgeon General and the American Academy of Ophthalmology encourage eye doctors to, “postpone those outpatient visits and procedures that can be safely delayed.” 

That means many familiar eyecare services – like standard eye exams and eyeglass prescriptions – are unavailable to patients at this time. Likewise, elective eye surgery procedures are also being delayed until further notice. What eye doctors can still do is diagnose and treat ocular emergencies.

Ocular emergencies may include corneal ulcers, uveitis, acute angle closure glaucoma, orbital cellulitis, endophthalmitis, retinal detachment, corneal abrasion, corneal and conjunctival foreign bodies, hyphema, ruptured globe, orbital wall fracture, lid laceration, chemical injury, flashes and floaters, visual loss in one or both eyes, and eye pain. 

As a patient, of course, those terms are probably unfamiliar. That’s why diagnosing any eye discomfort should be left to your local eye doctor and his or her staff. An initial phone screen with these medical professionals can help determine whether your current eye health challenge likely fits into an emergency category and should therefore be further diagnosed and treated immediately. 

At North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, we advise patients to call us at 352-373-4300 with any and all vision concerns. Our practice continues actively diagnosing and treating patients with a variety of emergency eyecare needs. When symptoms justify, we schedule an in-office evaluation. This is in keeping with Alachua County Emergency Order 2020-09, which deems eye care centers, “Essential Businesses and Operations,” recognizing the critical need for eye doctors to continue serving our community.

Within our practice locations, we have instituted a series of preemptive steps to minimize patient and staff exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). Among these are:

  • Requiring patients to fill out a screening form prior to coming to the office
  • Asking patients not to come in if they have a cough, fever or any other flu-like symptoms
  • Monitoring staff closely to ensure they are not carrying or transmitting the virus
  • Requesting staff members who do not feel well to remain at home and seek immediate medical care
  • Using all recognized and recommended universal precautions (sterilizing rooms, washing hands with soap and hot water, using sanitizer, and gloves and masks when appropriate)

At North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, your health – including your eye health – is our top priority. We are here to answer your eyecare questions and to provide any critical services you need. Call us today at 352-373-4300.



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