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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…..
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.
We have not had any phone or internet connectivity since lunchtime, hopefully it will be restored at some time this afternoon, but we have no idea when. If you are trying to contact us, and the phone is ringing out, that will be the reason.
Apologies for any inconvenience.
And what a week it was.
My spectacles made a strange cracking noise when I was testing a mother and son a week ago on Friday. I thought that perhap a lens had moved in the frame – I couldn’t see anything else amiss, so I thought nothing of it. On the next day, I popped my specs on to read an axis on the trial frame and the side departed from the front of the frame.
And I cannot find my spare varifocals, but……still, – nothing happened to “my good glasses”!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Entropy I guess? “Time’s arrow” – it dictates that everything will fail eventually and my specs were long overdue a change. I was bored with them and the bridge was scratched somehow, but most of all, my head was fatter than when I got them, so they left serious marks in the sides of my head. Laziness and other life commitments prevented me from ordering a new pair.
That Saturday, I made myself up a pair of distance only spectacles, thinking that I would be OK (enough) to read by removing them. Nope!
On Monday I managed to cut my lenses into another frame which also did not work all that well – it is a difficult job to get the centres of a varifocal exactly where they need to be when cutting them into a new frame – not only do the lenses need to physically fit in the newer frame, but they should also sit in exactly the correct position in front of the eyes. I thought the frame I picked would work, then I thought it would be close enough, but alas they have not been brilliant, or actually more than half decent.
My new lenses arrived today, so I am a very happy chappy! I can see clearly once again, at every distance.
But now for the moral of the story – make sure you know where your spare pair is – I suspect mine was in a car which was scrapped, but I never thought of them – until last Saturday.
I did briefly consider making myself a pair of readers to compliment my distance specs after my varifocal reglaze turned out less than brilliant, but I would rather be unable to read that well than have 2 separate pairs of specs.
But each to their own!
I am sorted now, and have another frame (and lenses to fit it) on order – don’t want to get caught out again!
I personally felt that I was a varifocal “disliker”, but having tried the alternatives, I will not be going back! Yes they have some annoyances, and after all, a jack of all trades cannot be the master of everything! But – I tried without, and I’m happy to be back!
Simon (Paul) Martin, husband to Sinéad, Victoria’s only brother and Paul and Patsy’s only surviving child had a bicycle accident about 3 weeks ago – he was very keen cyclist.
Unfortunately he went over his handlebars in a freak accident and never regained consciousness. He was wearing a helmet, but still suffered catastrophic head injuries, from which he could never recover.
Simon was taken off life support on Friday afternoon and passed away early Monday morning.
As a mark of respect, this practice will be closed on Thursday and Friday of this week.
We will be open on Saturday morning as usual, though we cannot offer eye examinations on that day.
Business as usual next week, life has to go on after all, despite how hard it may seem to be.
Apologies for any inconvenience, but how much tragedy can one family have in 9 weeks?
In the movies they always say that it isn’t a tragedy to die doing something you love, maybe that is true, but it doesn’t feel that way for those left behind.
I really do sincerely hope that this will be the last unexpected practice closure for a very long time!!