During the COVID crisis we did not close down. The care we deliver is an essential serivce. We have been providing emergency services for patients with eye injuries, replacing lost contact lenses, repairing or replacing lost or damaged glasses, and caring for those who felt they they were having trouble seeing. We have been doing this safely and carefully for 6+ weeks and our patients have been very grateful that they weren't abandoned when they needed us.
We have a well-established sanitation and safety protocol. This is not new to us - we are sure you notice that we have always kept a very clean and sanitary office. We COVID has required extreme measures and we have been refining this protocol for 6 weeks. Here is a short summary of how we keep you and us safe from infection.
Medical grade disinfectant: On March 1st when we recognized the warning signs of an impending pandemic we ordered 3 gallons of a medical-grade virucide disinfectant. While others were scrambling to find commercial hand sanitzer, we already had it in use.
Routine scrub down: before and after each patient patient is seen, we disinfect the seat/arm rests, counters, faucets, exam equipment, key boards, mice, door knobs, pens and any surface that has been touched. Staff computers and phones are disinfected routinely.
Hand sanitization: All patients are asked to use hand sanitizer upon entering and leaving the office. The doctors and staff wash their hands with medical grade disinfectant then soap and water before and after each patient.
Masks: all patients must wear a mask upon entering the office. Staff and doctors wear masks.
Social distancing: We have removed all but 4 chairs in the waiting room so that if anyone happens to be waiting, they are at least 6 feet apart. Patients are moved to a private room as soon as possible to limit their contact. Family members who accompany the patient must remain in the car. We recommend that parents do not bring all their children but if necessary we will insure social distancing for the kids and waiting patients.
Risk assessment: The front door remains locked at all times and patients are evaluated for symptoms prior to entry. A digital thermometer is used if there is a concern. Soon, we may add routine temperature taking.
Curbside service: For those who are especially concerned, we will bring their contact lenses, glasses or ocular nutraceuticals and place them in your trunk if you are concerned about getting out of the car.
Adjusting, repairing glasses: your glasses are placed on a clean towel and sprayed with a viricide disinfectant. We spray our hands with disinfectant. Then you put your glasses on, we assess the fit, and adjust your glasses until they fit perfectly. The glasses are then re-disinfected, washed and handed to you. The towel and chamois are then placed in a bin for sanitizing laundering.
Choosing a new frame: Every frame you touch is placed in a bin and removed from our boutique until it has been sprayed with virucide. Only then is it return to the room. All frames in the boutique are disinfected.
Restrooms: Patient bathroom is sanitized 3 times daily with medical-grade disinfectant.
Wow, that's a lot to do but we have had lots of practice, so it is routine. What will change in the coming months? Perhaps we will ease up and add a few chairs back in to the waiting room, perhaps we will unlock the door, perhaps we won't have to wear the masks. But the other steps will probably remain....it just makes good sense.