Optometry Practice Tips: COVID and Patient Eye Care

 

Highlights

  • Research shows a link between the COVID-19 virus and eye health issues, such as eye dryness, double vision, and pain.
  • It is essential to educate your patients on how COVID-19 impacts their eye health and what they can do to limit exposure.
  • Communicating health information to your patients is a great form of patient outreach that lets them know they’re valued and keeps your practice top of mind.
  • RevConnect makes patient communication quick and easy.

For optometrists, providing patients with important health information about eye health is not only crucial to their well-being, it’s also good business practice. Consider reaching out to your patients with tips about COVID-19 and its potential effects on vision.  RevConnect, RevolutionEHR’s patient communication solution, can help you get the word out.

Effects of COVID-19 on Eyes

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the way optometry practices operate. From instating precautionary measures during patient visits to educating patients about the impact that COVID-19 has on their eyes, optometry practices have made adjustments, but they continue to meet the needs of their patients.

Educating them about the effect of COVID-19 on the eyes is an important way that many optometrists are doing that.

While the virus that causes COVID affects primarily the human respiratory system, when the virus hijacks healthy cells in their lungs, it’s difficult to take in enough oxygen to run the body. This deprivation of oxygen harms the body’s tissues and organ systems, including the eyes.

According to the American Optometry Association, COVID-19 can cause complications similar to those caused by traumatic brain injuries. The effects that COVID-19 can have on a patient’s eyes range from minor to severe.

They include:

  • Convergence insufficiency
  • Change in eyesight
  • Light sensitivity
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Poor depth perception
  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Inflammatory conditions, such as episcleritis and uveitis
  • Issues with ocular motility (eye movement)
  • Vision loss
  • Corneal nerve damage

Although it is not the most common symptom, dry eyes are also seen in a number of patients with COVID-19. Approximately 1.7% of people experienced eye problems due to COVID-19, and of this number, 16% reported having persistent dry, irritated eyes.

Safe Contact Lens Wear

contact lens

One important topic to discuss with patients in a post-COVID setting is safe contact lens wear education. There is no evidence showing a direct correlation between contact lens wearing and COVID-19 infection. However, contact lens wearers are more prone to touching and rubbing their eyes due to dryness or irritation.

Optometrists can help their patients by educating them on the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission. Let your patients know that it is important to refrain from touching or rubbing their eyes without washing or sanitizing their hands first when wearing their contacts.

Also, encourage patients to clean their contacts frequently using appropriate cleaning agents to reduce the possibility of contracting COVID-19.

You can suggest that patients who wear contact lenses switch to wearing glasses when possible. Glasses tend to stop patients from rubbing their eyes since they form a barrier between the eyes and hands. They may also offer some protection against COVID-19 transmission via droplets.

Eye Care Tips to Share with Patients

When caring for patients in your optometry practice, share important protective eye care tips to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Awareness can help improve ocular health in the wake of the pandemic.

COVID-19 Safety Precautions

It is important to advise patients on using COVID-19 safety precautions that can reduce their risk of infection. Prevention of COVID-19 transmission keeps your patients safe and lowers the chance they’ll experience COVID-related eye health issues.

Precautions to follow:

  • Avoid washing eyes with water, as it removes naturally protective proteins and lubrication. Use lubricating eye drops instead.
  • Follow recommended hand washing and sanitizing procedures before touching your eyes.
  • Clean and disinfect contacts before each use.
  • Always wear masks in public and consider wearing eye protection as an extra precautionary measure.

Post-COVID Eye Exams

Patients who have contracted COVID-19 should come in for an eye exam once they recover. Eye issues caused by COVID-19 become worse as time passes, so it is best to get checked out as soon as possible. Your optometrist can assess possible conditions brought on by the virus. Advise patients to schedule an exam following a COVID-19 infection.

Blue Light Protection

Due to the pandemic, many patients are spending more time at home, working remotely on blue light-producing devices. Blue light contains more energy than other forms of light, which can cause eye strain. To counteract potential damage, advise patients to wear blue light glasses when sitting in front of the computer or TV screen.

typing on a tablet

Make Patient Communication Easy With RevConnect

Patient communication is an integral part of any practice marketing program. Informing and educating your patients makes them feel valued, establishes trust, and keeps your practice in your patients’ minds. When they need an optometrist, you’ll be the one they’ll call.

RevConnect, RevolutionEHR’s patient engagement software, makes communicating with your patients fast and easy. RevConnect offers both emailing and texting features, allowing you to reach out to your patients individually or in groups, using their preferred method of contact.

You can send appointment, recall, and recare reminders automatically. You can send birthday and practice anniversary greetings as well as optical order status updates. You can also create email campaigns and use built-in dedicated dashboards to track results.

RevConnect makes it easy to stay in touch with your patients and keep them engaged with your practice. Learn more about how RevConnect can improve patient engagement and retention for your practice here.

Make the Switch to RevolutionEHR

Caring for your patients during and after the pandemic means spending extra time educating them on COVID-related health issues. To ensure you can give every patient the care they deserve, implement an EHR system that improves practice efficiency and simplifies administrative tasks.

Request a demo of RevolutionEHR today to see how our optometry EHR software can improve your practice management and EHR processes. You’ll have the freedom to focus on your patients to provide them better care and build lasting relationships.

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