Tips for patients with eye problems in Covid times

These are difficult times where the fear factor is high and restrains patients from visiting eye hospitals/ centers. This also means that some eye diseases can go undetected or progress and affect vision permanently. So how do we balance this out? Its important for a patient to differentiate between a mild problem which can be sorted on teleconsultvis a vis serious problems which needs urgent attention in opd. Problems of eyelids and external eye can be delt with on video consults byt vision check/ spectacles and all things related to inside of eye have to be seen in opd with machines.

You need to visit an eye doctor if you are having any of following symptoms:
  • Sudden loss of vision/ distortion in vision/ black curtain like effect in vision/blurred vision
  • Acute pain with redness and blurred vision/ watering
  • Blurring/doubling of vision with headaches or any neurological symptoms
  • Sudden increase in floaters/ flashes of light
  • Blurred vision in diabetics/ hypertensives/ patients on glaucoma drops/myopes/taking multiple medicines/on oral steroids/ history of infections or inflammations in past

Lets answer some of the frequently asked questions.

Q: One of a common query related to eye in covid times is if Eye Protection is required when stepping out ?

A: The eyes, mouth, and nose all contain mucosal surfaces that are potential routes of acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 virus due to the presence of the ACE2 receptor (the receptor that thus virus uses to enter the body).

For the general public, eye protection is OPTIONAL ( not mandatory ) but could be used in crowded area or closed spaces with no ventilation . It is not a part of standard guidelines for covid protection like double masking and hand sanitisation. In open spaces or wherever there is no crowding eye protection is not required. On the other hand in healthcare settings, where physical distancing may not be possible and workers may be exposed to individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection specially when working in covid wards, CDC recommends them to wear protective eye goggles . These can be in form of wrap around spectacles / goggles or face shields . Make sure that they fit well and are comfortable with mask snuggly on nose . You can also keep spectacles on upper margin of mask to avoid leakage of air during breathing and causing fogging of spectacles.

Avoid touching eyes with fingers and keep sanitising your hands multiple times during the day when stepping out.
Stay well and remember to use double mask when stepping out.

Q: Is it safe to visit to hospitals these days for my eye problem/what are my do’s and don’t’s ?

A: Yes, hospitals are taking many safety precautions to make it safe for you and for their staff.

  • Make sure that you and the attendant are wearing proper masks (no valves) covering nose and mouth properly when you visit the centre.
  • There will be a screening protocol outside hospital including thermal scan / sanities your hands
  • Please carry a sanitizer/ all your previous reports/ maintain social distancing at all times
  • Be prepared for more waiting time as many safety and hygiene protocols have to be followed along with ample time spacing between appointments to avoid crowding in waiting areas.
  • Not all eye tests may be done like earlier routine days and only what is very relevant on priority to treatment will be done.
  • All surfaces in OPD /OT / Equipments are regularly sanitized in between patients
  • OT have HEPA filters and reverse air flow circulation /undergo regular fumigation
  • All common/ waiting areas are sanitized and cleaned regularly

Q: What are the Dos and Donts for eye care in this time, specially with increased screen usage?

A: Dr Parul shall guide you about this in following video:

Q: Is it safe to get my eye surgery done in covid times ?

A: Earlier first priority was being given to urgent eye problems like retinal detachments, acute glaucoma, trauma, macular edemas, ROPs, one eyed hypermature cataracts, phacomorphic glaucoma etc. Now that we know that covid is here to stay for sometime (few years ),we have to move on with adequate safety precautions in place. Surgeries are conducted with all due precautions wear the staff wears complete PPE and we keep the patient’s safety parameters on check constantly . You may be asked to get RT-PCR test for corona a day prior to surgery along with other preop investigations. MAIN KEY IS TO KEEP WEARING MASKS PROPERLY IN HOSPITAL (this safeguards the patients/attendants as the route of entry is nose & mouth –as long as this is covered we are safe ). Carry a sanitizer and sanitise your hands / wash them, every half an hour or so.

Q: How do I get teleconsult?

A: You can download the app :myhealth+ (both on android and ios platforms:
Patient Android App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.innocirc.mhvcpatient&hl=en
Patient iOS App: https://apps.apple.com/in/app/myhealth-plus/id1503492452

Register and book as per appointment slots. You can call our coordinator at M:+91-9582923456 for any help on this. The doctor will video call you at designated time and upload the prescription after consult. There are limitations of teleconsult and is being allowed by authorities only for this period as an exception to help patients . In case of anything serious, we would urge you to visit the ophthalmologist in opd.

Stay Safe, wear mask when you step out, maintain hand hygiene frequently, and maintain social distance. Lets be compassionate and kind to all, lets not stigmatize Covid and move forward empowered with right knowledge and attitude . Wish you health and peace .