As the lockdown restrictions ease, is it safe to book an appointment with your eye doctor or should you wait a little longer?
According to chief operating officer Alwin Sta. Rosa, Asian Eye Institute has put measures in place to make it safe to come in for a comprehensive eye checkup.
“The eyes are an entry point of any virus, that is why everyone is reminded to avoid touching their eyes. Moreover, conjunctivitis (or pinkeye) is a less common but recognized sign of COVID-19. Because of this, Asian Eye has been particularly vigilant about having stringent measures implemented in all our clinics,” Sta. Rosa explains. “We decided to change the way we interact with our patients and implement stricter protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of our community. In response to these challenging times, what we offer now is beyond eye care—it is safety and protection at every step.”
Asian Eye and EyeSite clinics reopened their doors to patients on May 19, 2020. However, the clinics currently accept patients strictly on a byappointment basis only.
“As much as we want to accept walk-in patients, we need to conduct a health screening prior to setting their appointments. We are also limiting the number of patients in our clinic and have specified that they can only bring one companion each,” Sta. Rosa notes.
Seats in waiting areas have been marked to allow visitors to maintain the minimum onemeter distance from each other, while the machines and facilities in the clinic undergo stringent cleaning and UV disinfection.
As Asian Eye implements a low-touch, low-contact clinical environment, patients can expect to see their doctors and the rest of the staff wearing the prescribed personal protection equipment as well as acrylic barriers and droplet shields.
While the examinations and diagnostics remain comprehensive, doctors may opt to say less during consultations and, instead, speak to patients over the phone for lengthier explanations or have more written instructions on prescriptions.
Sta. Rosa stresses: “The measures we have may seem very strict, but our goal is to make sure that the patients and the medical team feel safe and have peace of mind, knowing that we have done all that we can to limit exposure.”
He adds: “We need the cooperation of our patients too. It is important that they wear a mask during their visit and follow the protocols we have in place to keep them safe. But, most importantly, we need them to be honest on their health condition declaration. If they have any reason to suspect they have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient or may be an asymptomatic carrier, we highly recommend that they postpone their appointment. Unless the patient has an eye emergency or urgent eye condition, we have developed a teleconsultation service as an alternative.”
Asian Eye also offers an online delivery system so that patients can have prescriptions filled and eye care essentials delivered to their homes.
(Story/Photos by: Charizze Henson and Audrey Trinidad)
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