The recent COVID-19 outbreak has swept over the globe with lightning speed ravishing economies and disrupting social activities. But most of all, it has significantly devastating effects on the health and development of people. And eye care has not been spared. COVID-19 has brought restrictions on movement and stipulated physical distancing protocols, which influence both eye doctors and their patients. For instance, if you reside in the UK, you must first consider all the movement bans before heading for a boots eyetest. The novel virus continues to impact the eye health sector in several ways. Let’s take a look at some major effects.
As soon as the COVID-19 virus was detected, social distancing measures were introduced in all countries. Eye health is particularly affected due to the proximity of the eye health professional to a patient during eye examinations, which exposes both the eye doctor and the patient susceptible to infection. The eye care sector has had to adopt new procedures for routine eye care during COVID-19.
To limit physical contact, eye clinics have had to cancel or postpone appointments to reduce the number of people at the clinics, thus curbing the spread of the novel Coronavirus. This means that a few patients will receive delayed treatment, which may have devastating effects.
Partial and total lockdowns and travel bans have had a massive impact on the movement of people. Several eye hospitals in some regions of the globe have temporarily ceased operations bringing about a negative impact on eye health. Others are continually limiting the number of services they offer. For example, most eye clinics halted their outreach programs. These services greatly benefit low-income patients residing in remote areas. With limited access to eye doctors, patients in dire need of ocular treatment are unable to access these services.
There is a large reduction of hospital staff for running operations to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Elective surgeries and outreach activities are on hold, and only emergency cases are prioritized. However, thanks to technological innovations, eye doctors can utilize the internet for online consultations and follow-up with patients. This works to reduce exposure to staff.
Does COVID-19 Affect The Eyes?
There has been widespread speculation that one can get Coronavirus if infected droplets land in the eye. But proper scientific evidence of ocular transmission is yet to be released. The primary mode of transmission is still believed to be through respiratory droplets. However, to be on the safe side, ensure you maintain proper hygiene of your eyes. For instance, other than glasses aiding your vision, they help minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection in several covert ways. They serve as a barrier against respiratory droplets while effectively preventing you from touching your eyes.
The highly virulent virus has engulfed the globe in a dark cloud of uncertainty. If you need eye care, first consult with your ophthalmologist and book an appointment on a suitable day. The majority of eye clinics have implemented strict hygiene and disinfection measures to deal with the evolving COVID-19 crisis while delivering the best eye care.