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What to Expect on Your Next Eye Doctor Visit during the COVID-19 Pandemic - Questions and Answers

Andrew Prince, MD answers questions about what to expect on your next eye doctor visit during the coronavirus pandemic.

How will my appointment be different?

Prior to the appointment, you will be asked a series of questions such as whether you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, whether you have been exposed to anyone who has an active COVID infection, and whether you have any of the typical symptoms of a COVID-19 infection including fever, cough, shortness of breath, or some impairment of your sense of taste or smell. You may also be asked about recent travel history. If there is a concern that you may have COVID-19 infection, then the appointment may be rescheduled to a later date.

Once you get to the office, you will be interviewed again to see if you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection. You may be asked to have your temperature taken with a non-contact thermometer and to wash your hands or scrub your hands with hand sanitizer before entering the office. You may be asked not to bring any family members or assistants with you.

Every patient (and anyone accompanying the patient) is required to wear a mask, and the mask must be worn properly, covering both the nose and mouth. The mask must be worn through the entire visit, and conversations with the doctor or staff will be limited. The tests that are used to monitor glaucoma may be performed with modified protocols to minimize the time you spend at the office.

Will waiting rooms still be used?

Depending on the office location, patients may be asked to wait in their car until the eye doctor is ready to see them. In major cities where patients may arrive by other means, this may not be possible. Waiting rooms have been modified for increased distance between patients. Shared items like magazines have been removed.

Why are all of these changes taking place?

The number one reason for these changes is to protect the patient. COVID-19 is a very unique type of infection and can be deadly. Doctors want to protect the patient and staff while still providing the essential eye care a patient needs.

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Article by Andrew Prince, MD, a native New Yorker whose practice is focused on glaucoma and cataract surgery. Dr. Prince has offices on the upper Eastside of Manhattan and in the suburbs of Northern New Jersey. He also serves as the Chair of the GRF Ambassadors.

Last reviewed on September 16, 2020

This article appeared in the September 2020 issue of Gleams.

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