COVID-19 – What Safety Precautions Are Eye Clinics Taking?

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the health and safety of people. Millions of businesses across the world have closed down due to this pandemic. During this worldwide crisis, many people are afraid to go out of their houses, but some non-coronavirus medical conditions cannot wait. Especially the ones that require immediate attention. If you have a family member at home who needs eye surgery, they will have to visit an eye center regardless of the situation. 

Many eye care centers have opened up with added safety precautions so that people can get treatment for their vision while keeping the safety aspect in mind. Thus, an eye center must assure that all the safety precautions are taken, to diminish the chance of infections among patients. It would also help them thrive in their business and cover the losses incurred during the lockdown period.

Safety practices followed by eye care centers are:

  • Phone screening before in-office care.
  • Staggered patient visits and sterilization process taking place between the appointments.
  • Restricting the patient and staff entry without safety masks, gloves, and safety shields.
  • Temperature screening at the entrance and use of sanitizers.
  • Marking to be done in all the areas to promote social distancing and avoid chances of infection
  • Have patients bring their own food and water supplies to avoid infection from water coolers
  • Keeping distance from the patient while carrying out routine checkups
  • Eliminate individual belongings such as spectacles before the appointment

Cleaning, rearrangement and check-in alternatives for patients

  • Standard rooms: Common rooms such as waiting areas, lobbies, and restrooms are cleaned, and special attention is given to frequently touched surfaces, including doorknobs, armrests, and handrails.
  • Exam rooms: Proper sanitation and disinfectants are used after every visit.
  • Floor markings and furniture arrangements: Markers should be visible to patients on the floor that direct them to the areas where they should check-in and checkout. Furniture in waiting areas should be rearranged so that there is enough space between the patients and that few patients visit the clinic at a given time.
  • Organized waiting rooms: Waiting rooms are organized in such a way that the patients with respiratory ailments stay away from those who need special care. Special arrangements are made for the patients being tested for COVID-19, and they visit by following a specific process and are kept in a private room to restrict susceptibility to other patients.
  • Online consultation appointments: Many eye care centers have started online consultation appointments that allow patients to get in touch with the ophthalmologists without having to visit the center.

How has eye-care changed over the last few months?

These guidelines are to be followed by optometrists and optical care centers across the world:

  • Wear face masks: The eye examiner must wear gloves, face masks, and face breath shield while performing closed procedures. Aprons must be worn and washed daily. It is not compulsory to wear gloves, but when worn, it must be disinfected after the eye exam or disposed of properly.
  • Encourage online transactions: Online transactions are performed using credit cards and online transfers. If the patients are using a cash mode of payment, they must be collected by wearing gloves, and hand sanitizers must be used after receiving the payment.
  • Restrict patient time in office: A single patient should be examined at a time and should not be accompanied by an attendant. Try to examine the patients as quickly as possible so that there is no unnecessary rush near the waiting area. Try to take the patient details and issues on the phone before the patient arrives.
  • Brief vision tests: Try to keep the vision tests as short as possible and try to have minimum contact with the patient.
  • Avoid non-essential tests: It would be best to avoid non-essential tests as emphasis must be given to vision problems and offering solutions related to them.
  • Equipment sanitation: Once the eye exam is over, alcohol wipes must be used to sanitize everything, such as Torch, Slit lamp, and AR.

It is said that life is the most precious gift a human being is given. No one wants to risk their lives due to negligence, be it from a hospital or those not complying safety practices. Thus the safety of the patients and the working staff should not be compromised at any cost. All this is done so that the individuals with eye problems don’t suffer.

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