It has been just over a year since Australia identified its first case of the deadly coronavirus which at the time was responsible for 41 deaths from 1,320 cases reported globally. Now, a year later, deaths are soaring past 2.5 million.
It is an understatement that life has changed dramatically over this time with most of us making significant adjustments to how we live with the disease.
Eye Test Cancellations
Many people, particularly the elderly, have put off having an eye test because of fears or concerns about the safety of having an eye test. As a vulnerable group, the fear of contracting COVID-19 is very real.
During FY 19-20 optometrists provided 630,000 less consultations (7% decrease) than the year before. Alarmingly there was a drop of 20% for low vision consultations, the group most in need of eye healthcare.
As a result, optometry groups are concerned that if left untreated there could be a significant increase in the number of people who may possibly lose their sight, particularly those with vision-threatening conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy.
It is important that people who have these debilitating conditions keep their eye health appointments as they require constant follow-up and monitoring. It is vital that regular eye examinations are maintained to prevent any vision loss.
Optometrist Hygiene Protocols
Optometry as a profession understands the concerns patients have about COVID-19 and have put in place protocols to protect patients.
These safety protocols, outlined by Optometry Australia for their members to use in practice, include:
- Observing the ‘Five Moments of Hand Hygiene’ before touching a patient, before and after a procedure, after touching a patient and their surroundings.
- Greeting patients with a wave instead of a handshake.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces between each appointment with an alcohol wipe or a pre-mixed alcohol/bleach solution.
- Remaining 1.5m from patients whilst taking a patient history and speaking with a patient
- Using slit lamp shields to reduce potential droplet transmission.
Furthermore, optical dispensing and other practice staff use alcohol wipes to clean all rulers, pupilometers, pen torches and other equipment before and after patient consultations. When patients try on frames they are separated and cleaned with an alcohol based solution.
Immediate Appointments Needed
You should see your optometrist immediately if:
- your eyes are sore, swollen, or red
- your eyes are unusually sensitive to light or glare
- you feel sudden or severe eye pain
- you experience sudden vision loss
- there is a green or yellow discharge from your eyes
Our eyesight plays a major role in our lives, a fact that cannot be neglected. It is important that we look after them to maintain proper eye health.
Book an Eye Test Today
Book an eye test today to see your local Eyecare Plus optometrist, particularly if you have macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy.