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Coronavirus and Your Eyes – What You Should Know

As coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, health professionals are demanding that people limit their personal risk of contracting the virus by thoroughly washing their hands, practicing social distancing, and not touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that the eyes play an important role in spreading COVID-19. 

Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs out. These droplets can easily enter your body through the mucous membranes on the face, such as your nose, mouth, and yes — your eyes. 

But First, What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, causes mild to severe respiratory illness associated with fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically appear within 2 weeks of exposure. Those with acute cases of the virus can develop pneumonia and other life-threatening complications. 

Here’s what you should know: 

Guard Your Eyes Against COVID-19 

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes. Although we all engage in this very normal habit, try to fight the urge to touch your eyes. If you absolutely must, first wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Tears carry the virus. Touching tears or a surface where tears have fallen can spread coronavirus. Make sure to wash your hands after touching your eyes and throughout the day as well.
  • Disinfect surfaces. You can catch COVID-19 by touching an object or surface that has the virus on it, such as a door knob, and then touching your eyes. 

Coronavirus and Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, refers to an inflammation of the membrane covering the front of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis is characterized by red, watery, and itchy eyes. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing, too.

According to a recent study in China, viral conjunctivitis may be a symptom of COVID-19. The study found conjunctival congestion in 9 of the 1,099 patients (0.8%) who were confirmed to have coronavirus. 

If you suspect you have pink eye, call your eye doctor in Providence right away. Given the current coronavirus crisis, we ask patients to call prior to presenting themselves at the office of Dr. John E. Ormando, as it will allow the staff to assess your condition and adequately prepare for your visit.

Contact Lenses or Eyeglasses?

Many people who wear contact lenses are thinking about switching to eyeglasses for the time being to lower the threat of being infected with coronavirus.

Wearing glasses may provide an extra layer of protection if someone coughs on you; hopefully that infected droplet will hit the lens and not your eye. However, one must still be cautious, as the virus can reach the eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms around your frames. Unlike specialized safety goggles, glasses are not considered a safe way to prevent coronavirus.

Contact Lenses and COVID-19

If you wear contacts, make sure to properly wash your hands prior to removing or inserting them. Consider ordering a 3 to 6 month supply of contact lenses and solution; some opticals provide home delivery of contact lenses and solutions. At this stage there is no recommendation to wear daily lenses over monthlies.

Don’t switch your contact lens brand or solution, unless approved by your optometrist or optician.

Regularly Disinfect Glasses 

Some viruses such as coronavirus, can remain on hard surfaces from several hours to days. This can then be transmitted to the wearer’s fingers and face. People who wear reading glasses for presbyopia should be even more careful, because they usually need to handle their glasses more often throughout the day, and older individuals tend to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications. Gently wash the lenses and frames with warm water and soap, and dry your eyeglasses using a microfiber cloth. 

Stock up on Eye Medicine

It’s a good idea to stock up on important medications, including eye meds, in order to get by in case you need to be quarantined or if supplies run short. This may not be possible for everyone due to insurance limitations. If you cannot stock up, make sure to request a refill as soon as you’re due and never wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy. 

It is important that you continue to follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications.

Digital Devices and Eyestrain

At times like this, people tend to use digital devices more than usual. Take note of tiredness, sore eyes, blurry vision, double vision or headaches, which are symptoms of computer vision syndrome if they are exacerbated by extensive use of digital devices, and might indicate a need for a new prescription in the near future. This usually isn’t urgent, but if you’re unsure, you can call our eye doctor’s office.

Children and Digital Devices

During this time your children may end up watching TV and using computers, tablets and smartphones more frequently and for more extended periods too. Computer vision syndrome, mentioned above, can affect children as well. We recommend limiting screen time to a maximum of 2 hours per day for children, though it’s understandably difficult to control under the circumstances. 

Try to get your child to take a 10 to 15 minute break every hour, and stop all screen time for at least 60 minutes before sleep. 

Children and Outdoor Play

Please follow local guidelines and instructions regarding outdoor activities for your children. If possible, it’s actually good for visual development to spend 1-2 hours a day outside.

 

From all of us at Westminster Eyecare Associates in Providence, we wish you good health and please stay safe. 

Visiting Your Optometrist During COVID-19

Is your eye doctor’s appointment coming up? Are you worried about going to the eye clinic during the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Rest assured, keeping our patients and staff are safe is our top priority. 

We anticipate that this outbreak will continue for a while, and do not want our patients to neglect their eye care needs during this critical time. Our optometric clinic is prudent and has adopted specific measures to protect our patients and staff from potential exposure to COVID-19 during this time of uncertainty. 

That said, guidelines for slowing the spread of this epidemic are rapidly changing. Please pay close to attention to local regulatory changes to get the most up-to-date information on whether practices can still remain open/ accept non-emergency cases. 

Here Are the Precautions Our Eye Clinic Is Taking to Limit COVID-19: 

We employ a strict office policy that mandates that all eye doctors, opticians, office staff, and patients not enter if they are feeling unwell or have a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, or have been exposed to a known case of COVID-19 or traveled outside of the country within the last 14 days.

The staff may ask you to wait outside rather than in the waiting area in order to protect yourself and others from any circulating germs. Furthermore, we are trying to schedule our appointments in such a way that our waiting room remains as empty as possible.

During your eye exam: 

  • The eye doctor may use a special plastic barrier called a slit-lamp breath shield to block the exchange of breath between patient and doctor. 
  • The optometrist may wear a mask with a plastic shield over the eyes. 
  • The practitioner will wait for your slit-lamp eye exam to be over before speaking with you or answering any questions you may have. 
  • We sanitize all equipment and patient contact surfaces after every use and at the end of the day. 
  • We sanitize all surfaces and equipment (front desk counters, telephones, pens, door handles, waiting room chairs) with antibacterial wipes. 
  • All staff members wash their hands after contact with each patient and throughout the day.
  • Our office is equipped with several sanitizing stations.
  • We request that patients sanitize their hands prior to and after trying on frames. We also make sure to clean frames that have come into contact with patients with soap and hot water.
  • If we don’t shake hands with our patients during this time, please don’t take it personally.

Please call Westminster Eyecare Associates at 401-335-0685 with any questions or concerns you may have. If you feel it’s best for you or a member of your family to reschedule your appointment, we encourage you to do so.

To stay abreast of the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the following official health organizations:

  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) at www.CDC.gov
  • World Health Organization (WHO) at www.WHO.int 

Thank you and stay safe!  

Eye Doctors in Providence, RI

Proudly serving Pawtucket, Cranston, and Providence, RI, with quality eye care for more than 36 years.

Our optometric team at Westminster Eyecare Associates, eye doctors in Providence, is pleased to serve the local community including Pawtucket, Cranston, and surrounding areas, with a total range of excellent services for your vision and ocular health. Our mission is to continually provide our local communities with first-rate and friendly eye care and emergency eye care in Providence.

To that end, we offer comprehensive eye exams for your entire family, advanced treatments, a stylish optical collection, and expert eye care all-around. From pediatrics to geriatrics, we will ensure that your vision is sharp and healthy for as long as possible. Contact us to reserve your eye exam, or stop by anytime with your current vision prescription to buy eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Contact us at 401.331.7850, today, to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an eye doctor that provides standard and emergency eye care in Providence.

Treatment for Eye Conditions & Ocular Disease Management

Our optometrists make sure to stay up-to-date with the latest medical developments, such as ways to monitor and manage ocular disease. If you are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration, we will watch and treat it to help you avoid ocular complications and vision loss.

In addition to managing eye disease, we also diagnose conditions such as computer vision syndrome, dry eye, and eye allergies. If you suffer from headaches, blurry vision, eye fatigue or other symptoms that get in the way of your comfortable vision, we will administer a specialized eye exam for vision strain.

If you suffer from the annoying and painful symptoms of dry eye, we will assess your condition to find the cause – and treat it to bring you lasting relief. We want everyone to enjoy clear, comfortable, and healthy eyesight!

Eye care, little girl, blue eyes in Providence, RI

Urgent Eye Care for Injuries & Infections

Eye injury and infection can both be scary and painful. Yet, there is no reason to always run to the hospital emergency room for treatment.

Our eye care specialists in Providence, RI, are experienced and qualified to treat an extensive range of eye emergencies, including contact with a chemical substance, foreign body stuck in the eye, and eye infections.

If you need immediate assistance, contact our office.

Eye care, woman at an eye exam in Providence, RI

Precise Eye Exams

With the latest diagnostics and digital technology in our office, you can trust our eye care in RI, to satisfy all your needs. Our eye doctors are experienced and skilled in performing complete eye exams to assess your visual acuity and eye health.

Children, adults and seniors do not share the same risk factors, health issues, and visual requirements. That’s why we personalize every eye exam to consider our patient’s unique situation. Please tell us your visual concerns, and we will design your eye exam appropriately.

Read more about the eye care services we offer:

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Comprehensive Eye Exams

A complete eye examination checks for more than visual acuity. Our eye doctors will inspect your retina and eye tissues for any signs of disease.

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Pediatric Eye Exams

Undetected pediatric vision conditions can cause delays in learning or development. It is therefore essential to diagnose any visual problems as early as possible.

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New Year's Resolutions – Nutrition for Eye Health

The importance of nutrition for eye health, especially with everyone making New Years resolutions!

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Emergency Eye Care Services

Our eye doctors have the latest technology and lots of experience with eye infections, scratched eye etc...

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Management of Ocular Diseases

Using cutting-edge technology, we are diagnosing and managing, diseases like Glaucoma, and Macular Degeneration.

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Presbyopia Diagnosis and Treatment

Are you holding your book further away in order to see the words? Presbyopia is a typical vision problem linked to aging.

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LASIK & Refractive Surgery Co-Management

LASIK is currently the most popular vision-correcting or “refractive” surgery available. But there are other options as well.

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Sports and Specialty Eyewear Fitting

If you are serious about your sport or require specialty eyewear for your job or hobby, it’s worth scheduling a fitting.

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Dry Eye Treatment

An insufficient amount or quality of lubrication on the surface of your eyes leads to this irritating condition.

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Geriatric Eye Care Services

Man ocular diseases and conditions are associated with aging. In addition, the earlier that eye disease is diagnosed – the earlier it can be treated.

Advanced Technology in Providence, RI

Advanced Technology

We equip our Providence, RI, eye care center with the latest equipment and advanced diagnostic tools, providing you with the most modern care for your eyes.

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Your Eye Health

We believe in educating our patients about their eyes. Our Eye Health library makes a wide range of information easily accessible for you to read.

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Treatment for Eye Allergies

Eye allergies can make vision into a painful experience, with symptoms such as itchiness, swollen eyelids, watery eyes, and redness.

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Myopia Control for Children

Regular comprehensive eye exams for your child at all stages of their development is extremely important to ensure a good child’s vision.

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Computer Vision: Ways To Protect Your Eyes

Many hours are spent either during our leisure time or for work, looking at the lighted screen of a computer.