Dear friends and patients,
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way we practice modern healthcare, including ophthalmology and optometry. This pandemic has impacted everyone in some way. Our efforts and the efforts of millions of our fellow citizens have succeeded in flattening the curve compared with the prognostications of many of our most thoughtful public health experts.
As the number of new cases and deaths start to decline, direction from Federal and State governments and Medical advisory boards have allowed practices to reopen for routine patient consultations and elective surgeries. However, until a vaccination is developed, all medical practices have had to adapt to a new way of clinical practice. Life as we know it, particularly for patients and doctors, will never be the same. We may have the SARS-CoV-2 virus with us for years. We will always have the memory of what it means to shelter in place for weeks on end, and to defer non-urgent patient care. Experts from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, John Hopkins School of Medicine, the World Health Organization, and the European Respiratory Society have all contributed to recommendations to provide safe patient care in a new normal.
Here are some of the measures we are implementing at the office to ensure your safety and comfort
when visiting the eye doctor:
- All staff have been instructed to wear masks and gloves, and depending on the scenario, may
wear additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Waiting room chairs have been reduced in number, and spaced further apart to comply with social distancing requirements.
- The waiting room is disinfected throughout the day.
- Visits have been spaced further apart to allow adequate time to disinfect the room and equipment between patients.
- To reduce traffic, we ask that only the patient and a single companion accompany the patient.
- If you have a fever, respiratory symptoms, or any concern for a transmissible systemic health issues, we ask that you reschedule your appointment and consider scheduling a telehealth appointment.
- For the safety of others, we require all patients coming in for a visit to wear a mask.
- Patients will be asked to use a disinfectant on their hands on arrival. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been provided all around the office.
- All magazines and paper reading material has been removed from the office
- A slit-lamp breath shield has been installed in all exam rooms.
- If you have additional systemic health concerns, or are immunocompromised are worried about face-to-face time in the office and hence exposure, we offer telehealth services. You may schedule a phone call or videoconference appointment with us. If, from the outcome of that appointment you will need additional testing or procedures done in the office, we may then schedule an appointment for you at an off-hour so that you are the only patient in the office.
While some may be tempted to defer or delay their regular health visits, we strongly recommend that patients seek medical attention for health issues and concerns. The consequences of deferring routine medical care may outweigh the benefits of continuing to quarantine.
Surgery in the time after COVID-19
At present, some surgery centers are going to be (cautiously) re-opening for elective, non-urgent surgery. This will be done with the guidance of national, state and local health officials, and every reasonable precaution will be made to ensure safe surgery. At present, only a handful of surgery centers will be re-opening, and addressing the backlog of cases will be adjusted to prioritize those with more pressing health concerns. We will keep patients aware as the situation continues to evolve.
If you have additional systemic health concerns, or are immunocompromised are worried about face-to-face time in the office and hence exposure, we offer telehealth services. You may schedule a phone call or videoconference appointment with us. If, from the outcome of that appointment you will need additional testing or procedures done in the office, we may then schedule an appointment for you at an off-hour so that you are the only patient in the office.
If you would like to make a telemedicine appointment, you can either:
- leave a message at our office number (212-832-2020)
- email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
- Schedule a telehealth appointment online here
- For urgent eye issues, we are still able to see patients in our office. Please call us at our office (212-832-2020) and leave a message and we will get back to you within 24 hours.
Thank you for your patience and we look forward to seeing you soon.
All the best,
Drs. Mark G. Speaker, Jodi Abramson, Jimmy Hu and all the staff at Laser & Corneal Surgery Associates.