As you would know, information and guidelines regarding safe operating practices during the COVID-19 pandemic are constantly being reviewed. The information shared in this post is current as of 27th April 2020.
At present, Optometry Australia and Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmology recommend delaying routine eye examinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that if you are due for your routine annual eye examination and you are having no problems with your eye health, vision, or with your existing glasses or contact lenses, you are best to delay your appointment with the optometrist. Our practice will be contacting patients who normally receive a reminder text or letter to reschedule their recall date.
As you would know, a comprehensive eye examination takes longer than fifteen minutes and your practitioner is usually within arms-length when performing some of the eye examination. Having a routine exam when you are not having any problems doesn’t comply with the current government social distancing guidelines.
We do strongly recommend that you contact us if you have sore eyes, red eyes, a reduction of vision, flashes or floaters, double vision, poor vision with your glasses or contacts that are preventing you from reading with ease or seeing clearly when driving. Some eye conditions can be triaged and managed over the phone with the optometrist. Other eye problems may require you to come into the practice.
If you do require to come into the practice for an eye exam, we have implemented a number of changes to look after both our patients and staff. We will only see you if you do not show signs of COVID-19; sore throat, temperature, cough or if you have not been exposed to a known positive COVID-19 patient. Consultations are being spaced to decrease the number of people in the practice at one time. We ask you to leave extra family members at home where safe and possible to do so to support this.
We have always used alcohol wipes to clean the clinical equipment used in your eye exam. In addition to our regular hygiene and cleaning practices we have included the cleaning of the consulting room chair, door handles, pens and benches with medical grade alcohol based disinfectant wipes. Our clinical equipment (slit lamp) has a large perspex screen to minimise aerosol transmission from patient to practitioner and vice versa. Our optometrists are also encouraged to wear surgical grade masks when performing tests that require them to get in close proximity to the patient. Hand washing has always been part of our consultation protocol and will continue to be so.
If you require new glasses, you can feel confident in the knowledge that every frame handled is cleaned with an alcohol based cleaner before being returned to the shelf. We have hand sanitiser available and encourage you to use this before handling frames.
We are constantly checking the Optometry Australia and RANZCO guidelines to make sure we are following best practice when it comes to looking after our patients and staff in these challenging times. Naturally, when we are able to resume routine eye examinations we will let you know via our website and Facebook page.