Patients ask us often if it is safe to get an eye exam. Vision care, like just about everything these days, is evolving due to COVID-19. We have had to re-imagine what our practice looks like with the goal of helping to keep our patients and staff safe and healthy, but still delivering excellent vision care during these crazy times. As a result, we have worked hard to develop many new procedures so that we can provide Covid-Safe Eye Exams for our patients. Here’s what we’ve done for you.
How Our Optometrist’s Office Has Changed Due To Covid-19
While we were shut down during quarantine, every surface, instrument, supply and accessory was scrubbed and sanitized. We replaced every seating surface that had cloth upholstery with vinyl to make it easier to clean. And now, after a staff member or patient touches any surface, piece of eyewear, testing equipment, office accessory, or seating surface, they are sanitized again.
Covid-Safe Eye Exams Start Before The Front Door
For patients coming to pick up glasses, we offer curb-side pickup for new or repaired eyewear. Call us at 818-891-6711 when you get to the parking lot and we will meet you outside with your new eyewear. Payment can be handled over the phone or with a check or credit card from your car.
Entering Our Covid-Safe Office
In an effort to keep the number of people in the office to a minimum, we are keeping the entrance locked. At the front door there is a Ring doorbell, which we clean throughout the day. We screen all patients at the entrance:
- You’ll be asked a few questions, including how you are feeling, if you are experiencing any Covid symptoms, and if anyone you’ve been near has been sick.
- We will take your temperature with a forehead thermometer.
- We’ll then test your blood oxygen level with an Oximeter, a device that gives results that are more indicative of a person’s health than temperature alone.
- We’ll ask you to put on a mask. Everyone in the office — every patient, doctor, and staff — is required to wear a mask at all times. If you don’t have a mask of your own, one will be provided for you.
Once you’ve passed your initial screening, you’ll be given a green sticker to be placed on your shoulder, that shows all our staff, and every other patient in the office, that you have been screened.
The next thing you will see is that we have installed plexiglass shields anywhere you might encounter one of our staff. For example, there are plexiglass barriers surrounding our front desk, so when you check in and when you handle your insurance and payment information at the end of your appointment, you and our staff are separated by a shield.
Once you check in, you’ll have a seat in our waiting area, where you will notice far fewer chairs than in the past, each placed 6 feet apart.
Covid-Safe Eye Exams
As part of our Covid-Safe Eye Exam protocols, we have updated our Pre-Test area with plexiglass between each of our machines. We’ve also installed plexiglass between the patient and operator, and limit how many patients can be in the Pre-Test area at any one time. And if there is an area where one of our staff and a patient are going to be close, and there is no plexiglass shield, the staff member will wear a face shield in addition to a mask.
After each patient leaves an exam room or area, every surface and instrument is cleaned and sanitized. Once that’s done, a sign is placed in the exam room and instruments indicating that the room and instrument are clean. So that means when you sit in your exam chair, look through our instruments, take a test or even cover an eye with a paddle, you can be comfortable in knowing that it has all been made as sanitary as possible.
You will also find UV HEPA filters in your exam room, each of which completely has the capacity to filter the air in the room every 10 minutes. You will notice the new vinyl upholstery on the seating areas, and plexiglass barriers between you and your eye doctor when you are looking through our instruments.
One other thing you’ll notice is that your eye doctor will not be peering through a small scope just inches from your face, which is just impractical in the age of Covid-19. One of the newer pieces of technology we have added to our office, the Optos Ultra-Widefield (UWF™) retinal imaging system, makes that old method of examining your eyes obsolete.
Visit Our Covid-Safe Optical Department
In the past, any patient could walk through our optical department to touch, examine and try-on any pair of frames among the many hundreds we have on display. That is no longer practical, and so you will notice that we have made big changes in this part of our office as well.
You will take a seat at the Optician’s table, and as you might already expect, there will be plexiglass barriers between the two of you. You can still see and examine all of our frames through the barrier, but your Optician will bring them to you to try on. And you can be sure that they are all cleaned and sanitized, because after any frame is touched by one of our staff, we not only clean the frames thoroughly with a hydrogen peroxide solution, we also run it through a special UV-C sterilization box, all of which have been shown to kill the Covid-19 virus.
And don’t forget that you can use our Virtual Try-On system to try on any pair of frames in our office, either from our office or from your own computer or mobile device.
Keeping You Healthy With Covid-Safe Eye Exams
When the quarantine first began, our patients couldn’t come in for routine eye exams. Now that restrictions have eased just a bit, our patients are asking us if they can get a Covid-Safe Eye exam. That’s why we’ve gone to such extraordinary lengths to make sure that our office is safe for you and your loved ones. If your routine eye exam was cancelled due to Covid-19, or if it’s been a long while since your last eye exam, make your appointment today by calling our office at 818-891-6711 or using our online appointment form. We look forward to seeing you in our office soon.