This is a very reasonable concern and one that has been shared by eye care professional in Australia and globally during this pandemic. The close physical proximity required for a detailed eye examination does pose potential transmission risk. Social distancing is just not practical for some aspects of essential eye examination and treatment. However, you can be reassured that Australian eye specialists have been sharing information and knowledge with global counterparts, and particularly those countries where the COVID infection rates have been much higher than here. We have adapted to the times and have put in clinical protocols and guidelines to ensure eye examination and treatments are delivered in the safest manner.
We are also aware that many of the patients needing essential eye treatment are often in the older age group that should also be the most careful to avoid coronavirus. It is absolutely critical that patients with macular degeneration for example should have discussion with their eye specialist and ensure that they follow their advice. There can be potentially sight-threatening risks of delaying or avoiding necessary eye examination and treatment due to disproportionate concern about COVID-19.
For example, in my clinic, all of our staff and patients wear masks, there are strict disinfection protocol to wipe down all surfaces between each patient, sneeze guard protective shields are in place, and also appropriately spaced out appointment timings to ensure social distancing of patients within the waiting room.
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