Keeping a Close Eye and Responding to COVID-19
This page will be updated regularly as we learn more about the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how we can best support the local needs of our staff, partners, volunteers and clients.
March 27, 2020
For everyone’s health and safety, ophthalmologists, optometrists, and other doctors are being urged to see only patients for urgent or emergent problems during the coronavirus pandemic.
This is important for two reasons:
- To limit contact between patients and staff in offices, waiting rooms, exams rooms, and surgical facilities to reduce the spread of the coronavirus;
- To conserve vital disposable medical supplies (like masks, gloves, face shields, and sanitizing wipes, etc.) so they can be used in hospitals where they are most needed right now.
Urgent care is defined as medical care provided for illnesses or injuries that require prompt attention but are typically not of such seriousness as to require the services of an emergency room. Emergency care is defined as medical care for conditions requiring prompt medical attention due to a sudden change in the eye or visual health. If you’re uncertain whether or not your condition is urgent or emergent, contact your eye care provider (ophthalmologist or optometrist) immediately.
You will likely find that routine patient visits, such as annual dilated eye exams, exams for glasses, and general eye health check-ups, will be rescheduled likely for a few months. Any non-emergent or non-urgent eye surgeries and procedures, for example cataract surgery, will also be postponed. Urgent and emergent situations may include exams, treatments, and surgeries for eye injuries, retinal detachments, and other eye problems resulting in acute vision loss that may be permanent if not treated sooner. Contact your eye care provider’s office BEFORE traveling to the office to check whether your appointment is cancelled or not.
Plan ahead: If your appointment will still occur, talk to the eye care provider’s office by phone about any safety precautions you should take for the visit. In addition, please let the office know if you have a cough or a fever, or have been in close contact with someone who has these symptoms. Offices have implemented screening and cleaning procedures to preserve the health and safety of the office staff and patients who needed to be seen.
Call your eye care provider for guidance in the following situations:
- You have an eye disease (such as macular degeneration or diabetes-related retinopathy) and receive regular eye injections;
- You have any vision treatments that are routinely applied at the eye care provider’s office, and you are uncertain whether these are considered urgent care;
- You suddenly lose or notice changes in your vision (such as blurred vision, wavy areas of vision, or blank spots in your field of vision);
- You notice a lot of new floaters or flashes of light in your vision;
- You have eye pain, headache, red eye, nausea, and vomiting.
Clinical trials: If you are currently involved in a clinical trial for a vision treatment or therapy, the FDA has encouraged all trials to consider patients’ safety when making determinations about trial recruitment and continued participation and drug administration. Changes to the conduct of each trial and the participation of its patients will depend on the various circumstances of the trial, including the nature of the disease being studied and the drug being administered, potential changes in the product’s supply chain, the regions where the trial is conducted, and more.
Contact your clinical trial site to determine what steps they are taking to ensure your safety and continuity of eye care during this time. This may include changes to how the clinical trial maintains contact with you or how treatments are administered.
March 20, 2020
Resource Links for Eye Health and Eye Care Professionals
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) has compiled a list of useful resources relating to Covid-19 and its implications for eye health and eye care professionals.
March 19, 2020
Prevent Blindness Texas offices closed, all staff working remotely until further notice
As of Thursday, March 19, 2020, Prevent Blindness Texas has directed its staff to work remotely until further notice based on recommendations from health care authorities to help stop the spread of the virus. Prevent Blindness Texas continues to take the precautionary measures to supporth the health and well-being of our team members and their families, as well as our clients. Our staff will also avoid in-person meetings, travel, and participation in screening, educational and training events. While we are making these temporary adjustments to our daily operations, we continue to stay connected through social media and email. Our general information email is [email protected]. Future updates will be posted on our website and our social media channels, including Facebook and Instagram. Please stay healthy and well!
March 16, 2020
A Statement from President & CEO Heather Patrick Regarding Our Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Prevent Blindness Texas is closely monitoring the local impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak cases in Texas and is closely monitoring the safety and well-being of our staff, partners, volunteers and clients. We are taking the guidance and precautionary steps based on the guidelines of local health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The following information applies to all Prevent Blindness Texas physical offices located in Houston and San Antonio.
Our Staff, Volunteers, and Partners
The health and safety of our staff, volunteers and partners is of primary concern to Prevent Blindness Texas. We are always happy to serve all of our walk-in clients, but during this time, we are taking proactive steps to implement health safety measures in our office to best protect the spread of the virus or respiratory illness. For this reason, we are encouraging clients to refrain from visiting our physical offices located in Houston and San Antonio if you are sick, are experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus, or believe you recently been exposed to the virus. We also ask that you please use good judgment if you have already scheduled an appointment with one of our participating partners. Prevent Blindness Texas is currently determining our in-office work policy and will also update if there are any office closures. If we temporarily close our office, we will be sure to notify our stakeholders and will make every effort to operate virtually. If you have questions related to programs and services, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].
Upcoming Community Outreach and Special Events
Prevent Blindness Texas participates in many community outreach events throughout the year, and we have decided to postpone our participation in community outreach events (screenings, trainings, etc.) through the end of March 2020, to better protect our staff and volunteers. We are also discussing contingency plans for upcoming special events in the next few months. We appreciate your patience and understanding as our staff meets to discuss the possibility of postponing events until further notice. We will continue to update our participants and partners through email, phone calls, social media channels, and on our website.
For more information about COVID-19, please visit www.CDC.gov or https://hhs.texas.gov/services/health/coronavirus-covid-19 to get the latest information. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. We wish everyone in our communities to stay healthy and well!
Heather Patrick, President and CEO