by Mehrdad Malihi, MD
Northwest Eye Laser and Surgery Institute,
11786 SW Barnes Rd Suite 270 Portland OR 97225 Tel: 503-747-5044
Your Eye Care during COVID-19 and what we do to keep you Safe!
COVID-19 has drastically changed all aspects of our lives. Here are what you need to know about your eye care during such time:
- The virus is believed to spread primarily via person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also could be spread if people touch an object or surface with virus present from an infected person, and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes. It is therefore very important to avoid touching our eyes!
- Patients typically present with respiratory illness, including fever, cough and shortness of breath; diarrhea is common early in infection, and conjunctivitis (pink eye) has also been reported, although uncommonly. Other less specific symptoms include headache, eye pain and fatigue.
- There is heightened awareness regarding what constitutes appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for ophthalmologists performing ophthalmic examinations, particularly around the use of masks and goggles. Reports of ophthalmologist and otolaryngologist deaths in China and Italy are alarming. We use gloves and masks and breath shields at our practice and have informed our patients that we will speak as little as possible during the slit-lamp examination, and request that the patient also refrain from talking.
- In our office like most other practices, patients who come to an appointment are asked prior to entering the waiting room about fever and respiratory illness and whether they or a family member have had contact with another person with confirmed COVID-19 in the past 2 to 14 days. If they answer yes to either question, they will be sent home and told to speak to their primary care physician. We keep the waiting room as empty as possible, advise seated patients to remain at least 6 feet from one another.
- As much as prudent, we have reduced the visits of the most vulnerable patients. We have re-scheduled or canceled many of the non-urgent visits that would not put patients at risk of vision loss if delayed.
- Patients are asked to notify us (or their eye physician) immediately if they have any of the following symptoms : Loss or blurriness of vision, loss of visual field (dark curtain), eye pain, sensitivity to light, new or increased floaters or flashes of light. If such symptoms are noted, we will contact the patient immediately and arrange for an emergent eye visit at our office.