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Is it safe to see my optometrist in the COVID-19 crisis?

Eye Practice
Is it safe to see my optometrist in the COVID-19 crisis?

The latest lock-down rules permit optometrists to keep their doors open but should you or shouldn't you be going? And how do you stay safe?

Are you well?

You should avoid as far as possible visiting your optometrist for an eye test, or any other reason, if any of the following apply:

  • If you are unwell, undergoing cancer treatment or have any underlying illness such as diabetes, a respiratory condition or heart condition, you are at higher risk for developing severe COVID-19 illness and should not leave your house unless absolutely necessary. Arrange for a family member to collect your eye wear (or have it posted out) and call your optometrist if you need replacement glasses or contact lenses. 
  • Regardless of age, if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, sore throat, OR any other symptoms of contagious disease including sneezing, running nose, diarrhoea or vomiting, please DO NOT visit your optometrist as you will put their staff and patients at risk.
  • If you, or someone you live with, has returned from overseas (or a cruise) within the past two weeks, you should self-isolate at home for 14 days and not leave the house. 
  • If you or someone you live with has had ANY contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 14 days until the quarantine period has passed. 

The Eye Practice will be asking these questions of all patients PRIOR to their appointment. Please be truthful with your answers to allow us to protect our staff and urgent patients. 

Is your visit urgent?

Urgent doesn’t necessarily mean medically urgent or sight-threatening such as sudden loss of vision, symptoms of flashes and floaters etc. Although these are the most urgent eye conditions and cannot be postponed, there are many other reasons that are time-sensitive when it comes to having the use of your eyes:

  • Referral due to new or recent diagnosis of an eye condition such as keratoconus or severe dry eye

  • Contact lens fitting for keratoconus or severe dry eye

  • Urgent follow up for eye disease such as contact lens related infection, wet macular degeneration, eye injury or inflammation (including uveitis

  • Lost or broken your only pair of glasses (or contact lenses) and you are dependent on them

  • Running low on disposable contact lenses and you don’t have glasses

In these last two cases, phone or online discussion can often resolve the issue without having to come in (see below). 


Can it happen online?

Many visits to optometrists are to replace broken glasses or purchase a second pair. Much of this can happen online, via Facetime or Zoom. 

Often, your optometrist can reorder the frame you had previously in the same or an alternative colour. This is often the best solution and can even accommodate multifocal lenses as they have already measured you in the frame in the past and have these measurements on your record. 

  • Or, if your previous frame is out of stock, a few options can be selected with the same size bridge and lenses, so it looks similar on your face. 
  • Some clinical consultations can also occur online, such as follow up for dry eye patients.  While The Eye Practice cannot perform diagnostic tests online, we CAN discuss your progress, alter your treatment regimen accordingly and issue your therapeutic prescription. 

Contact The Eye Practice to arrange an online consultation to review your eye disease or to order replacement glasses. 

How do I know I'll be safe at the practice?

As far as risk of COVID-19 goes, the most risky thing in the practice is YOU, the patient. The Eye Practice takes the new hygiene protocols very seriously. This is why you will be asked to thoroughly wash your hands (with soap for 20 seconds) on arrival and use hand sanitiser gel moving between areas of the practice. 
  • Older or infirm urgent patients will be asked to wear a disposable mask for their own protection. 
  • Our optometrists and front of house staff will be wearing approved masks.
  • All testing equipment is wiped down with disinfectant wipes between patients. 
  • Our Eftpos machines are cling-wrapped after each new transaction. 
  • Social distancing rules are enforced with no more that one person per 4 square meters (and mostly a lot less). 

You can assist with maintaining a safe environment by leaving family members outside the practice, bringing the minimum items and bags to your appointment, minimising contact and small talk with our staff and optometrist and washing your hands regularly. 

What if it really is urgent and you can’t see me?

The Eye Practice may not able to see you in person if you are unwell or have recently returned from overseas or been in contact with someone with COVID-19. But that doesn't mean you're on your own. We can support you remotely. 

Our optometrists can consult with you via phone or email about your urgent condition and make the appropriate referral to a hospital or emergency eye department where necessary. 

Not sure if you should be seeing your optometrist? Call The Eye Practice on (02) 9290 1899 to discuss if you should keep your appointment, postpone or consult online. 

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