On April 22, the American Optometric Association (AOA) urged patients with emergency eye care needs to get in touch with their local optometrist prior to seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Doing so not only eases the burden on emergency departments but also helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What Is Considered an Eye Emergency?
Most eye-related conditions can be treated in an outpatient optometry office or clinic. As a matter of fact, several Urgent Care offices in our area refer their eye emergencies to our office. We have treated people who have been unsuccessful in reaching their prior eye doctor.
Emergency eye care includes anything that causes eye pain or urgent clinical advice. It may be an eye injury like a corneal abrasion or removing something that is lodged in the eye. At times someone may have a sudden loss of vision or sudden blurry vision, a chemical burn or sensitivity to light. Sudden onset of flashes and floaters may signal a retinal detachment. If someone wears contact lenses, then sudden pain in one eye may mean a corneal ulcer. Red eye or discharge may indicate conjunctivitis, one of the common symptoms of COVID-19.
Prioritizing Your Eye Care Needs During COVID-19
During the coronavirus outbreak, we have been going above and beyond to ensure that people are receiving the emergency eye care they need. Patients with emergency conditions, many of which have not been our patients previously, have called. We have been able to treat and prescribe by a phone consultation, called Telehealth. At times, emergency visits require a physical visit to the office. During this period, per the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the governor's order, we are not yet seeing patients for "routine care" but anyone who has any sort of eye concern, should certainly call our office, Family Eye Care in Old Bridge, NJ and our doctors will respond to help you.
The hospital emergency rooms are now addressing people with COVID and therefore many people are hesitant and concerned about going to the hospital ER. Also, ER physicians are excellent at what they do, but may not be as familiar or comfortable with eye related problems. We are. We can help.
We also want hospitals to conserve their conserve their resources to address the pandemic. Research has shown that treating eye emergencies at an eye doctor's office can potentially divert 1.4 million patients away from emergency rooms per year.
We, at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge provide emergency care for those who need it. We'd like to reassure our patients that we are here to help with anyone’s emergency eye care requirements – for both for new and existing patients.