The novel coronavirus COVID-19 proceeds with its spread internationally. Authorities are executing different measures to contain or defer it, from complete or partial lockdowns to shutting schools to forbidding bigger open social events. In this circumstance, the healthcare industry is on the front line, and hospitals are expected to undertake mandatory steps to make sure that their staff and patient’s safety is not compromised. Preventive care might be postponed during this pandemic yet treatment for eye crises is as significant as it could be.
Coronavirus can spread through the eyes
Along with mouth and nose, coronavirus can enter into your body through your eyes. It can cause pink eyes or conjunctivitis, which is rare. Constraining eye exposure can help. Here’s why:
When a sick person coughs or talks, infection particles can spray from their mouth or nose into another person’s face. You’re most likely to inhale these droplets through your mouth or nose, however, they can likewise enter through your eyes.
You can also become infected by coming in contact with something that has the virus on it — like a table or doorknob — and then touching your eyes.
Here are the counteractive strategies against COVID-19, which we have employed at Rushabh Eye Hospital and Laser Centre, a super specialty eye hospital in Chembur, Mumbai.
1. Patient Management and Screening
- The appointments of patients needing ophthalmic examinations are segregated into regular and emergency eye care with 15 minutes buffer to avoid crowding with walk-in patients. We are restricting the number of people that enter.
- We encourage patients to come alone unless they absolutely need to be accompanied by someone.
- If feasible, we urge the patients to opt for an online consultation so reduce their exposure. This is especially for those patients with non -urgent eye problems, or those seeking second opinions or follow ups. If deemed necessary by the eye doctor, these patients may then be called for a regular check up
- We also screen them while giving out appointments for complaints suggestive of COVID infection such as fever, cold, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing etc. and also ensure that they have not been in contact with a known positive case.
- All patients and personnel entering the hospital premises are screened. Your vital parameters (body temperature) will be checked with a non-contact thermometer. Entry is not permitted without proper masks or face cloths. Details are recorded to ensure that the patient is not from a containment area. We encourage all patients and their attendees to download the ‘Arogya Setu’ App.
- Patients are requested to wash their hands with soap and water or with the provided sanitizer upon entry.
- A safe distance (1.5 m) is assured between patients who are required to be seated in the waiting room.
2. Equipment and Surface Disinfection
We understand that contact by touching various surfaces increases the risk of transmission of the coronavirus. Our housekeeping staff is well versed with all the updated disinfection protocols. Surfaces frequently touched by staff and patients, such as light switches, door handles, lift buttons, reception desk, chairs are cleaned by the housekeeping staff every hour. The examination and waiting room floor is cleaned on a 2-hour routine with suitable disinfectants (1% sodium hypochlorite).
Doctors and optometrists performing the examination and/or tests change their gloves after every patient. Once the patient leaves the room, the equipment used, including the chin and headrests of the slit-lamp and indirect ophthalmoscope, are cleaned with appropriate disinfectants. Instruments that come into contact with the patient, such as contact lenses and ultrasound probes are cleaned according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. The instruments are rinsed under running water to remove the residual disinfectant and to prevent damage to the eye (cornea) when used again.
3. Personnel and Physician Protection
We take care of you . But what about us ? We ensure the supply of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for every working member of the eye hospital -both Medical and paramedical. Gloves , Masks, Face shields, Gowns , Scrub sets are provided and ensured that they are used properly. Periodic training is carried out to educate the staff about preventive practices so that they can protect themselves while serving patients.
The current health care crisis and the need for social distancing to protect our professionals, affiliate staff, and patients has made it important to consider new methodologies for ophthalmic evaluation. The internet is a very powerful tool and can be used for this purpose with supplemental technology. Patients can be screened and treated to a certain extent by online consultations or Tele-Consultations through the medium of telephone or video calls. This is a very useful method to serve high risk, elderly individuals or those who are unable or unfit to travel to the hospital.