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Around the world, patients, caregivers and healthcare providers are making drastic changes to protect themselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes being careful of when and how often to visit the doctor.

Female nurse speaking with patient and caregiver, all wearing face masks
Stock photo. Posed by model.


The global eye care community has been hard at work to ensure that patients and their caregivers can safely return to ophthalmologists’ offices. If you are living with wet macular degeneration, regular treatment provided in-office decreases the risk of vision loss. It’s important to return for an appointment as soon as you feel comfortable and are able to follow local government and healthcare guidance. As you consider returning to your doctor’s office, here are some questions you can ask.

Is it required that everyone wear masks?

Masks are key in reducing COVID-19 transmission. Those wearing masks who do not have COVID-19 are better protected from getting infected, and those who have the virus are less likely to transmit it.1 Ask your doctor’s office if masks are required to be worn at all times, aside from when a patient may be required to remove the mask for an examination or treatment.

Is social distance prioritized in the office?

Many doctors’ offices have reduced waiting area seating, adjusted appointment schedules and added plexiglass barriers to ensure patients and eye care team members maintain social distance of at least one meter.2 Before visiting your doctor, ask how they have adjusted scheduling, physical seating and spacing to prioritize the protection of all who enter the office.

How have your cleaning and disinfection practices changed?

While hygiene and cleanliness are always important, they are crucial in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Contact your physicians’ office before an appointment if you want to confirm how often spaces and equipment are being cleaned.

Are all entering the office required to undergo temperature checks?

While thermal scanners cannot detect COVID-19, they can detect if someone has a fever, which may indicate virus infection.3 Ask your doctor’s office if temperature checks are required before individuals enter the facility to ensure the safety of those inside.

Can my caregiver come into the office with me?

To promote social distancing and limit the number of people in their offices, doctors may have new rules to restrict the number of people attending each appointment. Ask your doctor if someone can accompany you and if there are any restrictions on how they can provide in-office support. This way you can make a plan in advance that meets your needs.

How can I prepare for appointments to minimize time physically spent in the doctor’s office?

To minimize time spent in the enclosed space, ask your doctor how you can better prepare for appointments. Perhaps certain information can be provided by phone or online ahead of time, such as vision status or symptoms. This way, your time in the doctor’s office can be spent checking your vision and preparing for and receiving treatment.

As the global COVID-19 situation constantly evolves, so too does advice around preventing spread of the virus. Before visiting your ophthalmologist’s office, be sure to check the latest local guidance and call their office with any questions or concerns.

 

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References:

  1. World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Masks. Available at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-and-masks. Accessed October 2020.
  2. World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public. Available at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public. Accessed October 2020.
  3. World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Mythbusters. 2020. Available at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters. Accessed October 2020.