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Essential Business? Not now..

So the government has closed all non essential businesses for a while….

It is hard to consider Optometrists as much more than retail establishments in a dire situation such as the one we are living. Eye exams are important, but often could wait a week or a month or two?

Once or twice a week though we get someone calling in, with complaints of recent onset flashes or floaters, or other possibly sight threatening symptoms.

We always try to see these people as soon as possible, often lunch is taken up by seeing these folks, who almost always require a dilated exam.

Until last night’s new directives, we had planned to open on a limited basis from Monday, but Optometrists are now not classed as essential services, so we must remain closed for at least the next fortnight.

If you have an eye emergency, the Association of Optometrists have advised their members that we should not see you- any people with clinical problems should go to their local eye department.

If you have an issue with your glasses, I will do my best to help out. Call Ian on 083 808 0371, but remember that I have poor coverage where I live and the phone may not ring. If you leave me a message, I can call back and try to get something sorted out.

Stay safe!

Ian

Private Callers

We will be kind of back to work on Monday, but with a much reduced service – it is really going to be emergencies only, unfortunately.

What is an emergency will be explained soon, but for the moment, we are not open.

I left my mobile number on the notices at the practice and also on the website, but I just missed a call from a PRIVATE CALLER. I was outside pressure washing paths, sorry.

But, if you call from a Private Number and do not leave a message, there is not a lot I can do to help you. I don’t even know if that was a business or private call, but unless they call back…..

I you need assistance, please either call from a number which can have a call returned, or leave a message?

Coronavirus

Temporary Practice Closure

After careful consideration over the last few days, I have decided that the practice should close until March 29th.

There is little point in trying to split routine eye testing into 15 minute blocks, unless you are an “Optical Chain”, where it can all be done in less than 15!

I cannot (could but, will not) do testing that quickly – I tested my daughter last night in 12 minutes, but there were no issues except for blurry vision, and I didn’t need to be nice to her….

The diary in the next couple of weeks is busy, though how many people will arrive is a different matter….

Eye examinations are important – everyone should have one regularly, but they are not often time critical – a week or two here or there likely will not matter?

So, without consulting staff, I have decided that we should not open until March 29th. I feel that Neasa and Sandra will not be unhappy with this decision, but as I say, I have not asked them, yet.

So…… If you have an emergency (a vision/ eyesight emergency) please call Ian on 0838080371. Given my poor mobile coverage at home, and slightly better, but at this time “spotty” internet connection – it drops every few minutes (thanks Three), better to try me on WhatsApp? I am personally not a regular Facebooker, but if you try to contact us that way, I reckon Neasa or Sandra will alert me.

If you have a “spectacles emergency” such as a lens falling out or you sat on them (they seemed to become “somehow” strained), all of a sudden!!

Yeah, give me a call, and I will do what I can, but in the circumstances, try a pin, or a piece of thread – try to fix them yourself?

Obviously this is a very poor business decision – it would be much better to attempt to remain open – businesses which are closed only lose money after all! But in the “Grand scheme” of things, I think that this may be better for the population as a whole?

Tough (and scary) times!

Ian

COVID-19

The global pandemic introduces many difficulties to daily life and Optometry is no different!

Optometrists cannot perform any work at a distance greater than 2 metres – their arms are too short after all! As anyone who has had an eye exam will know, examination of the back of the eye is a very close procedure, with very little distance between the client and the optom.

Professional and regulatory guidance suggests that because Optometrists cannot work with the “self distancing” suggestions, we will have to attempt to go by the 15 minute rule. For the foreseeable, eye tests may need to be split into more than one session – the suggestions are that refractions and history and symptoms will be visit one and there will need to be another appointment for eye examination and (if necessary) collection of spectacles.

Obviously, depending on symptoms and issues, things may need to be done in a different order, depending on priority.

This is a not ideal situation, but in these circumstances, which are not ideal, we will have to roll with it.

We are going to have to instigate an appointment only visiting plan – no visitors without an appointment, at all. All appointments made by telephone will have to be screened, “triaged” to ensure you have no symptoms of COVID-19 and to determine why you require an appointment – if you have an emergency, such as loss of vision, we will see you no problem, but a red and/or sticky eye associated with a cough could be a sign – we will direct you elsewhere – best to call the HSE?

Routine eye examinations are the most likely to be disrupted – we plan to split those up as previously described, but, unfortunately, at this time do you really need your eyes tested? If you broke your specs and need a new pair, for the moment, if you could see OK with the previous pair, it might be better to go with the old prescription? We will absorb the costs involved here – should it later become “clear”, after a test down the line, that the correction was not ideal, we will change the spectacle lenses at no further charge to you. But maybe just wear your spare pair until this current crisis has passed?

Teaching clients how to apply and remove contact lenses is a time intensive and close proximity task which will have to be suspended until further notice.

For those folks who are past their contact lens prescription “in date time”, we will (as per recommendations) extend the contact lens prescription validity time, until things improve – no contact lens check mandatory at the moment!

For the same reasons, all home visit appointments are cancelled until further notice – there is no point in visiting a housebound person and exposing them to unnecessary risk!

Tough times for all of us – none of these measures are necessarily just to protect the staff of the practice, though that is of course an issue, but it is moreso to protect the wider community, to ensure we do not cause community spreading.

Pubs, Clubs and other venues, where large numbers may be in close proximity have been advised to close for two weeks by the government. We also see that certain local businesses have chosen to close for the next few weeks – that is their choice and we make no inference on whether that is the correct choice, but life goes on, as will COVID-19. It will still be in the wild in 2 weeks from now, likely more widespread, so we will hold off from even more drastic measures until absolutely necessary…..

 

Monday 16th March

We are planning a long weekend – with St Patrick’s day falling on a Tuesday this year we have decided that we will remain closed on the Monday to extend the weekend. Business as usual Wednesday onwards, though we are considering some changes to the practice, including the possibility of appointments for everything, even a repair of glasses. This would allow us to keep a track of all visitors.

No changes for the moment though.

Have a great isolated St. Patrick’s Day.

Ian

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Sight is precious, look after yours.