Contact Lens Fitting and Training During COVID-19
COVID-19 considerations on contact lens inseration and removal training.
As states begin to lift restrictions and health care providers begin to provide a broader array of health care services, many doctors of optometry are continuing to provide care to their contact lens patients. There are safety precautions that should be taken with any in-office visit, provided in any medical care facility, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Safety precautions for contact lens fitting and training
To help protect patients and health care providers, doctors of optometry may consider the following:
- Be mindful of potential coronavirus activity in the state, community or region.
- Known or suspected COVID-19 patients should suspend use of contact lenses and defer routine contact lens fitting and training.
- Prioritize hygiene, including encouraging the use of daily disposable contact lenses.
- Due to the proximity and length of time needed to traditionally train the new contact lens wearer, consider having the patient watch a training video prior to the in-office training. This can cut down on the trainer/trainee interaction time.
- Make certain the training area is appropriately cleaned by wiping down all surfaces with an approved disinfectant while adhering to recommendations on necessary contact time.
- The contact lens training area should be socially distanced from all other patients and activity in the office.
- Due to the proximity needed to properly train the first-time wearer, the contact lens technician/trainer should:
- Wear a mask.
- Wash hands immediately before and after working with the patient, or apply a fresh pair of gloves.
- Use a face-shield, goggles or safety glasses, or be separated by an appropriate sneeze guard. i
- The patient should be masked and hands appropriately washed.
- Once the patient has reached an appropriate level of proficiency handling the contact lenses, be certain to reiterate the appropriate wearing schedule and proper care of the lenses. Especially during this time, it’s important to stress proper contact lens hygiene.
- Stress the importance of prescribed contact lens replacement schedules and appropriate lens disposal practices, emphasizing avoiding disposal of lenses into water sources, such as drains or toilets. Encourage proper recycling of lens materials, cases and solutions.
- Provide as many follow-up visits as clinically necessary virtually through an approved telemedicine platform to ensure that lenses are well-fitting.
- Instruct patient to notify the doctor immediately if they develop pain, red eye, conjunctivitis, decrease in vision or other ocular symptoms.
Although Congressional action staved off an immediate 2% cut to providers’ Medicare payments this year, attention now shifts to additional cuts mandated by federal spending controls.
Even as doctors of optometry receive the much-needed funds, the AOA remains committed to advocating for optometry’s inclusion in federal crisis measures. Reminder: the deadline to apply for relief has been extended to May 31.
May 31 is the new application deadline for first- and second-draw PPP loans, with the AOA requesting clarity on whether HHS Provider Relief Funds should be included in gross receipts for assessing eligibility.