Looks like we’re in for the long haul with the COVID-19 way of life becoming the new norm. Fundamental changes to the way we work, rest and play have been imposed by social distancing and lockdown. But what this mean for our eyes? In this post The Eye Practice looks at do’s and don’ts for protecting your eyes during the pandemic.
DO expect changes to your eye test
Nothing is quite the same as pre-COVID, with a whole new jargon entering our languages, from social distancing to lockdown. The Eye Practice in Sydney CBD has changed the way we see you, our patients, to ensure your safety as well as enabling our practice to stay open.
- You will be asked to hand sanitise on arrival and offered a surgical mask if you don’t have your own.
- Our optometrists will also wear masks or face shields and may wear disposable gloves for some parts of your test.
- Your test may take a little longer due to disinfection and hygiene protocols.
- You can still bring your support person or carer.
DON’T put off your eye treatment or follow up
If you have (or at at risk for) an eye disease such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy, you must continue to see your eye practitioner. Whether it is monitoring you for signs of progression or treating your macular disease, it’s vitally important not to neglect your eyes. Things can go downhill rapidly.
DO wear glasses instead of your contact lenses
A number of papers have now shown that glasses can reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. The physical barrier of a pair of glasses protects you from contaminated droplets and stops you touching your face in the eye area.
DON’T attend your eye exam (or any appointment) if you you’re unwell
We didn’t think we’d still have to say this, but we are amazed at what some people still ask us. If have even mild symptoms of COVID-19 DO NOT use public transport or attend any public indoor area, including an optometrist practice. You may have a mild version of COVID-19 (remember – many people who test positive have no symptoms) and could spread it to someone more vulnerable.
DO wear blue-blocker lenses
The ‘new normal’ has taken its toll on our eyes. With restrictions remaining on many dining and entertainment venues screen time has dramatically increased! Stan and Netflix, gaming and eReaders (such as Kindle) are all competing for your eyes’ attention.
To protect your eyes from blue light emitted from digital screens, invest in a pair of blue blocking lenses. These can be with or without your glasses prescription and will filter out light from the harmful blue end of the spectrum. Reducing screentime, lowering brightness and contrast on your screen and investing in blue-light free devices will also protect your eyes.
Wearing blue blockers, even without a prescription, has the added bonus of reducing eye rubbing by creating a physical barrier in front of your eyes that will keep you from touching them.
DON’T rub your eyes!
COVID-19 has been shown to spread through your eyes – not just your nose and mouth. Virus particles can enter your eyes if someone with the virus is talking or coughing near you. Tears can also spread the virus so avoid touching your eyes and the eyes of others.
DO order supplies
We are not suggesting (or accepting) years’ supplies of contact lenses, but if you are heavily dependant on contact lenses, solutions, eye drops or other therapeutics, it makes sense to ensure you always have a 6 month supply at hand. This means that if supply chains are disrupted you can still function.
DON’T forget to take a break
Boundaries between work and home life become blurred when you no longer go into the office. If you’re working from your lounge in your active wear, when (and how) do you switch off? Here are a few tips:
- Avoid using your laptop at the kitchen table or lounge as these places should be for home life.
- Even if not going to the office, present yourself as if you are – you are likely to have video meetings in any case, so it’s important to look professional.
- Try and stick to your routine. Start and FINISH work at your usual time. It’s easy to say, I’ll go to the gym or do the chores while I’m home, but starting late means finishing late.
On the plus side, reduced travel time (due to far less traffic and working from home) means more time. Saving a couple of hours travel time does not have to mean looking at digital devices more. It could mean two hours of extra exercise a day for example. Or you may prefer to exercise, read a book, meditate or get outdoors.
If you are well and due for an eye examination, The Eye Practice can see you in a COVID-safe environment. Call (02) 9290 1899 or make an appointment online today.