As of April 24th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted their nationwide recommended restrictions placed in March on routine eye care. Safety protocols are critical to patient care moving forward and we are currently taking steps to reduce risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission to our patients and staff. 

Below is a compilation and summary of recommendations from the American Optometric Society (AOA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the White House’s Opening Up America Again. These procedures will be kept in place throughout most of the summer or until this virus is completely abated. 

 

Premier Eye Associates

COVID-19 Reopening Preparedness Guide

General Office Considerations: 

  • Prioritizing care for high complexity, chronic disease management:
    • Emergent and Urgent eye exams
    • Diabetic Retinopathy
    • Glaucoma
    • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
    • Complex contact lens patients (Scleral Contact Lenses, GVSS, etc)
    • Myopia Management Patients
    • Post surgical patients
    • Patients referred to the practice for specialist care
    • Urgent need for new eyewear and improved vision
  • Screening all patients and staff for symptoms of COVID-19, including temperature checks
  • Supplying sufficient resources including Personal Protective Equipment, a healthy workforce, clean facilities and supplies
  • Began reopening at 25-50% patient capacity, establishing a longer time frame between appointments
    • Currently at 75% schedule capacity; Indoor capacity has increased from 10 to 25 people (recent NJ guidelines)
  • Strict social distancing protocols will be enforced in close common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact
  • Year supply of contact lens orders mailed to patients at no cost
  • Curbside pickup for contacts and glasses and curbside eyeglass adjustments available upon request. Dedicated curbside parking spot in our parking lot
  • Offering travel-free access to contact lenses and to dry eye products, vitamins, and contact lens supplies with direct to home mailing

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): 

  • Providers and staff will wear face masks at all times
  • Patients should wear a cloth face covering if surgical masks are not available
  • Surgical masks will be supplied for patients in need

Workforce Availability:

  • Staff will be routinely screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and for a fever. 
  • If symptomatic, staff will not be allowed in the office and will be recommended to be tested and quarantined if positive for COVID-19. 

Facility Considerations:

  • Continue to facilitate social distancing:
    • Minimizing time in waiting areas
    • Spacing chairs 6 feet apart
    • Maintaining lower patient volumes
    • Limiting building’s maximum capacity to 25 people
  • Visitors are prohibited unless they are a parent, guardian or caregiver 
    • Allowed visitors will be pre-screened in the same way as patients
  • Door will remain wide open to reduce handle touching and promote exchange of fresh air (weather permitting)
  • Touchless soap dispensers are in every room
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers were purchased and strategically placed in the office
  • Touchless faucet, light switch and toilet flushing mechanism installed in the bathroom
  • Air purifiers with HEPA filters will be active in each room
  • Face shields have been installed on equipment.
  • Plexiglass shields have been installed at the checkout desk

Sanitation Protocols:

  • Established plan for thorough cleaning and disinfection prior to using spaces or facilities for patients
  • Staff training and dry runs prior to reopening
  • Implemented and assigned a staff member as Sanitation Quality Control Coordinator
  • Cleaning equipment and eyeglass frames with hypochlorous acid

Restrictions to Entering the Office:

  • Anyone with a fever at or above 100.4℉ (as defined by CDC)
  • If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • If you or someone close to you has the following symptoms:
    • Coughing
    • Shortness of Breath
    • Chills
    • Muscle Pain
    • Sore Throat
    • New Loss of Taste or Smell
    • Persistent pain or pressure in chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
  • Choosing not to fill out or answer the COVID-19 questionnaire
  • Choosing not to wear a face mask
  • If anyone reports or appears ill
  • If you are a nonessential visitor

 

References: