Coronavirus has affected every facet of our daily lives, and it seems every day brings still more questions than answers. As a leading Houston eye care provider, Berkeley Eye Center has received many questions about coronavirus and your eyes. Here are answers to a few of these questions, as well as a few tips for protecting eye health while we’re all doing our best to stay at home.
Is Your Pink Eye Coronavirus Or Allergies?
Springtime is often difficult for eye allergies, and this year there are additional health concerns due to the novel coronavirus, which can cause a viral conjunctivitis. Are those red watery eyes a sign of allergy, or a serious infection?
People that suffer from seasonal allergies typically have a history of previously experiencing them, although symptoms can vary in intensity. Puffy, bloodshot, itchy, watery eyes are commonly a part of an allergy response. Usually, other allergy signs are also present. Over-the-counter systemic and topical allergy medication are often helpful.
On the other hand, viral conjunctivitis typically has less itching, more burning, redness, and a watery discharge that seems thicker and stickier than tears. Concerns of coronavirus infection would be heightened if a person also had fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, bluish lips, chest pain or pressure, loss of smell or taste, or a sense of confusion.
If you are unsure but there are no viral infection symptoms, you could safely try the usual allergy relief approaches. If you have symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, please contact your health care provider right away.
Should You Wear Contact Lenses During The Coronavirus Outbreak?
The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus. The primary mode of infection is from breathing in air that is contaminated with the virus. But, viruses can also enter the body through mucus membranes. Therefore, we have been told repeatedly to wash our hands often and properly, and to not touch our faces.
Many people prefer to wear contact lenses to improve their vision, rather than eyeglasses. So, should they stop wearing contact lenses to reduce the risk of infection from the coronavirus?
The Centers for Disease Control has stated that contact lenses wearers do not appear to be at greater risk of acquiring COVID-19 than eyeglass wearers. Safe contact lens wear always begins with good hygiene.
So, wash those hands often and properly, especially before inserting and removing the contact lenses. Do not touch your face unnecessarily. You should be safe.
What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is using communications technology to provide healthcare services when the patient is physically separated from the healthcare provider. In a time of social distancing to limit the spread of a pandemic, the ability to get services from home can be very important for the safety of patients and health care professionals.
There have been great strides in communications technology. A photo or a video can be sent from one person to another in just an instant, and at little cost from a common cell phone. Patient history, photos, video and data sharing can all be done remotely. A clinician could triage, diagnose, start treatment or follow up on treatment plans on a telemedicine format.
Some assessments might verify that the patient needs to be physically seen on an urgent basis. These situations can mean better outcomes, if treatment can be initiated more quickly.
Telemedicine is used by many more types of doctors during this time of need. In the future, when normal clinic operation resumes, telemedicine is likely to become a valuable part of everyday practice.
How Can I Treat Eye Issues At Home?
Many common eye issues, if caught in their early stages, can be helped with simple, at-home treatments. Warm compresses, lid scrubs and over-the-counter eye lubricants are some of the most frequently recommended treatments that can keep some lid infections or ocular symptoms from worsening.
Read more about how to correctly use these treatments.
Check Your Macula With A Free At Home Vision Test
The macula is the central part of the retina. Damage to the macula, if left untreated, can cause permanent vision loss. The Amsler Grid is a test used by eye doctors to see if patients are experiencing vision changes that might indicate macular damage.
Learn more about how to take the test from the comfort of your home!
Contact Berkeley Eye Center For a Telemedicine Appointment
During these uncertain times, Berkeley Eye Center is offering new and existing patients eye exams via telemedicine. Visit with an ophthalmologist through your smartphone, tablet or other video devices.
If you experience a sudden change in your vision, pain, redness, flashing lights, floaters or have any concern about your eye health, please call us today at 713-526-1600 and we will schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.