This article originally appeared on the American Refractive Surgery Council Insight Blog.
Your next eye doctor visit will look and feel different in the post-COVID-19 world. There is no denying an eye exam is an up-close and personal experience, which may feel like it’s going against the need for social distancing in the era of COVID-19. In response, eye doctors across the country are adopting measures to protect your health and safety – as well as the health and safety of themselves, employees, families, and communities — during your next appointment. You should expect eye doctor visits to work a bit differently, while at the same time, providing you the care and attention you and your eyes need.
Putting Your Health First
Here is what might look different at your next eye doctor visit:
- Prior to arrival, your eye doctor may call you and ask a few questions prior to your visit. They may ask if you’ve been sick, have a fever, traveled out of the country, or been exposed to anyone who may have had COVID-19.
- Upon arrival, you may be asked to wear a face mask while at the doctor’s office and you may be offered hand sanitizer upon entering the doctor’s office.
- As part of the routine health check, your temperature may be taken.
- You may be asked to fill out and submit any necessary paperwork online or by email prior to your appointment to reduce the amount of time you are in the doctor’s office.
- You may be asked to wait in your car, rather than in the office waiting room or lobby. Any friends or family members accompanying you may be asked to wait for you in the car, rather than in the office.
- You may notice fewer people in the office than normal. Many practices are reducing the number of appointments and scheduling them further apart to help with social distancing.
- There may be shields on some of the exam equipment to protect you. You may also see technicians sanitizing diagnostic equipment before and after your test.
- Your eye doctor may practice social distancing during your visit, ensuring there are at least 6 feet between you and the doctor – particularly during conversations.
Additionally, it’s likely that the office staff also may be routinely given daily health checks, including having their temperature taken, and likely will be wearing face masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. You may also notice staff disinfecting patient areas throughout your visit.
New Options in Consultations: Virtual Eye Doctor Visits
We recently shared that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many practices were offering virtual visits with the eye doctor. These visits are conducted either by phone or by video conference and give doctors and patients the opportunity to talk about any eye problems and put together a plan to help address them. As we move into post-COVID-19, you might see a hybrid of these virtual visits and in-office appointments. One benefit is these virtual eye doctor visits can help reduce the number of in-office appointments and can be conducted prior to an office visit. Patients and eye doctors are finding virtual eye doctor visits valuable in discussing their vision correction options, including laser vision correction procedures, like LASIK. These conversations give patients important information about the risks and benefits of the various laser vision correction procedures available today. In fact, some practices may choose to continue offering these types of virtual eye doctor visits because they offer a level of service and convenience patients appreciate.