Visiting your Doctor’s Office? 5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Risk To COVID-19
As restrictions ease in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area, many businesses are reopening again, including your doctor’s offices. A few weeks ago, finding a routine eye appointment was nearly impossible. Under the recommendations from national health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Optometric Association (AOA), and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), optometrist and ophthalmologist offices are now opening up again for routine eye exams.
As the world is reopening again, you may be asking yourself, is it safe to visit the doctor’s office? Should I postpone my appointments? And if so, how long should I wait? So, how long should you wait before scheduling your checkup? Dr. Ali Zaidi, a retina eye doctor and surgeon says, “Although going to the doctor’s office may feel scary, it’s important not to neglect your eye health.” There are still reasons to be cautious but we’ve listed a couple of easy ways to reduce your exposure to COVID-19.
1 ) Call Your Doctor’s Office
All doctor’s office should be taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. No set of recommendations are the same, so the safety measures will differ from office to office. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor’s office or visit your doctor’s website for information about how they are protecting you. Ask them to walk you through the changes they’ve made around the office. Safety should be their top priority. Your visit to your doctor’s office should feel and look very different from your previous appointments. At our ophthalmology office in San Francisco, we’ve listed out the safety measures we’ve implemented in our office. Please read about them here.
2) Complete Paper Work at Home
To reduce your time in the waiting room trying to complete forms before your appointment. Go to your physician’s website and download any forms they may have available. If no forms available on their website, call the office and request for the forms to be directly emailed you. Having your registration and medical history forms completed before your appointment will cut down your wait time in the waiting room and prevent unnecessary exchanges. Our forms available on our website, you may either print and bring these forms with you or email these forms back to us before your appointment.
3) Arrive On Time
Gone are the days of showing up early to your doctor’s appointment. Most doctors’ offices are probably regulating the number of people in the office. At Pacific Eye Associates, we recommend that our patients arrive no sooner than 10 minutes before their appointment, and our waiting room chairs are now situated 6 feet apart. We allow patients who have an appointment in our office. “In the past, we encouraged meeting your family and loved ones that support your care. But, right now it is not safe to do so unless there is a true need for a caregiver. We ask that anyone accompanying you to wait in the car or in the lobby downstairs.” says Dr. Scott So our glaucoma specialist and surgeon.
4) No Small Talk
It’s impossible to social distance yourself from your doctor during an eye exam so it does best not to chat when the doctor is looking into your eye. Once your doctor completes the exam and distances themselves for you, then ask questions. At our office, we’ve attached larger plexiglass sheets to our slit lamps prevent the spread of respiratory droplets.
5) Telemedicine Options
Eliminate your exposure to COVID-19 with a telemedicine appointment. A lot of questions can be answered through a video appointment. Doctors are able to diagnose and prescribe medication. We know that not all concerns may be addressed over telehealth but a virtual appointment is a good place to start your healthcare journey.
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As we carefully reopen for routine care, our office will feel and look very different but we want to reassure you that safety is our guiding principle. Don’t postpone your eye health. Follow these simple steps to protect yourself. Read about the changes we’ve implemented at our office.