Glaucoma is progressive and without regular examinations and careful adherence to your care plan, your vision can deteriorate, undetected. And once lost, that vision cannot be restored. Your eye doctor needs to see you to prevent that!
Eye doctors have made many, many changes to make the office safe for you to get the examinations or treatment you need to manage your glaucoma effectively.
This short video will give you an idea of the changes we’ve made to every step of the office visit, and what we’ll ask you to do to help protect you, your family, and your care team while we provide the highest level of care. Some of these requirements may be unfamiliar now but will soon feel routine. And none of them represent any compromise to our pledge to protect your health, your vision, and your privacy.
Watch the Video “See You Soon!”
Eye Care Professionals: Download and Share the ‘See You Soon!’ video today.
Before You Visit Your Eye Doctor
When you reconnect with your eye doctor’s office to discuss an in-person visit, you likely will be given information about general and site-specific COVID-19 guidelines and expectations to ensure a smooth transition to the new procedures. We may also ask you a set of screening questions about any symptoms, such as cough or fever, you may be experiencing or whether you feel you might have been exposed. We want you to answer these questions as honestly and accurately as possible.
This is your first opportunity to ask questions and share any concerns you have about your exposure risk or your eyesight.
Changes in the Office
Your glaucoma care team has spent many hours behind the scenes getting the office ready to serve you safely. We have made both physical and procedural changes. We have rearranged the office and waiting room to facilitate social distancing, including reducing and spacing chairs in the waiting room, limiting the number of people in the space at one time, and redirecting traffic flow. You may even be asked to wait in your car until it is time for your exam — eliminating time in the waiting room altogether. This might also mean that we ask any companion to wait in the car, unless it is agreed in advance that their presence is absolutely necessary for your care.
In the exam rooms, we have installed protective shielding on the instruments. You may also notice new plastic barriers throughout the office.
And you should know that the members of your care team have their temperatures checked, answer COVID-19 screening questions, and wear protective masks, face shield, gloves and other clothing. You’ll recognize them by their smiling eyes!
Preparing for Your Office Visit
You have a very important role to play as well! First, unless specified by our staff, please wear a face mask or other appropriate cover over both your nose and mouth. Even if you feel that you don’t need a mask, remember that we are also working together to protect other patients at high risk, as well as your care team and their families. As your eye care providers, we treat you like family and want to protect you. We kindly ask that while you are with us, you see your fellow patients and the office staff the same way.
Second, please maintain social distance of at least 6 feet from other patients and the care team as much as possible. You’ll see we’ve taken steps to modify the office environment to make this easier. Of course, there will be times during your office visit when members of our team will need to get closer to you than 6 feet. However, we will ensure appropriate shielding is in place and minimize the time required, reverting to social distancing as soon as possible.
Third, if you are having a surgical procedure, we may ask you to be screened for COVID-19. This may include a detailed questionnaire about symptoms and exposure to the coronavirus and/or taking a coronavirus test a few days before your visit. The specific requirements of this step will vary by locality and site.
Finally, please be completely honest when you answer our screening questions. Rest assured that if you are positive on any of these questions, we have thought ahead about your situation and will have a plan in place. We may give you specific and unique instructions on what your next steps should be.
In the Doctor’s Office
On the day of your visit, you may be asked to wait outside the office or in your car until we call you in. Any pre-visit paperwork might be delivered to you there or you may have been asked to fill out those forms online, before your arrival. Once you are called, you may go directly to an exam room. Although this step is part of minimizing contact with other patients, you may appreciate the efficiency of avoiding the waiting room altogether.
You’ll notice that we’ve minimized your need to touch any surface — for example, doors may be left open. You’ll see that we are constantly cleaning and sanitizing shared surfaces and equipment, particularly after each use. Don’t be shy about asking for cleaning supplies if you’d like to perform your own wipe down.
One big difference for all of us — as much as we would love to welcome you back with handshakes or hugs, we will have to let our words and “smiling eyes” show our excitement at seeing you again.
See Your Eye Care Provider Today
Just remember that we are here for you. And we will do everything we can to keep you safe and to keep your vision preserved. Together, we can create a safe environment that allows us to see and care for you when needed.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns that were not addressed here, please feel free to reach out to your eye care office directly. They will be happy help.
Your eye care provider says… See you soon!!
Glaucoma Research Foundation is very grateful to:
- Dr. Sev Teymoorian and the staff at Harvard Eye Associates,
- Dr. Rohit Varma, Dr. Alena Reznik and the staff at Southern California Eye Institute,
- Dr. Jody Piltz-Seymour and the staff at Valley Eye Professionals,
- and Dr. Terri-Diann Pickering, Dr. Andrew Iwach, and the staff at Glaucoma Center of San Francisco,
for their many contributions to the making of this film.
Special thanks to Dr. Sev Teymoorian for developing the original script concept.
The safety protocols described in this film are an amalgamation of procedures adopted by the participating practices and may differ from measures utilized by your eye care provider. Please ask your eye care office for any specific safety instructions when you plan your next visit.
This film and its narrative was made with the support of Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The participating physicians have been compensated for their time by Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Posted on January 13, 2021