Face Mask Essentials for COVID-19 Protection

Precautions for Patients and Staff of Glenn K. Davis, II, M.D.

If you are visiting Dr. Davis’ office for your eye care, we understand the nervousness you may feel about going to your appointment during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Rest assured that the offices of Glenn K. Davis, II, M.D., are following strict hygiene and disinfection guidelines. As a healthcare provider, we are most concerned for any patients and staff who must need to take extra precautions. If you can identify yourself among those most at-risk listed below, please let us know.

 

People Who Need to Take Extra Precautions

People at Higher Risk for Severe Illness

    • People Who Are Immunocompromised
    • Older Adults
    • People with Asthma
    • People with HIV
    • People with Liver Disease

Other Populations

    • People with Dementia
    • People with Disabilities
    • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
    • People Experiencing Homelessness
    • Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups
    • Newly Resettled Refugee Populations

CDC Info: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 

New Procedures for Eye Exams in Our Office

As you may know, limiting close physical contact among people is key to helping reduce the spread of the coronavirus. This is known as “social distancing” and it means allowing at least six feet of distance between other people who are not in the same household. You can expect to see these new procedures in effect when you come for eye exams in our office.

 

In an attempt to limit the number of people in our waiting room, we have resumed our practice with a new limited schedule. As much as we enjoy visiting with our patients, we ask that no one arrive early for appointments. We may ask that you wait in your car instead of in the normal waiting room. This measure is to protect you, the other patients and our staff.

 

Everyone is required to wear a mask or face covering while in our facility. If you do not have one we will provide you with one. We disinfect each exam room after each patient. Our office has hand sanitizer available for staff and patients.

 

Staff will check your temperature. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be asked to leave and reschedule their appointment.

 

Please follow these guidelines for everyone’s health and safety:

  • If you have a cough or a fever, or have been in close contact with someone with these symptoms, you must call our office ahead of time and let us know. If your visit is not an emergency, you will need to reschedule your eye exam or appointment.
  • If you arrive sick, Dr. Davis or one of his staff may ask you to return home. If you have an eye emergency that must be seen right away, we will ask you to wait in a special room away from others.
  • If you need to cough or sneeze during your eye exam, move back from staff. Bury your face in the crook of your arm or cover your face with a tissue. Wash your hands with soap and water right away.

 

How Can Coronavirus Affect Your Eyes?

Coronavirus can spread through the eyes, just as it does through the mouth or nose. When someone who has coronavirus coughs, sneezes, or talks, virus particles can spray from their mouth or nose onto your face. You are likely to breathe these tiny droplets in through your mouth or nose. But the droplets can also enter your body through your eyes. You can also become infected by touching your eyes after touching something that has the virus on it. This is why hand hygiene is so important.

 

It might be possible for coronavirus to cause a pink eye infection (conjunctivitis), but this is rare. If you have pink eye, don’t panic. Simply call our office to let us know and follow any instructions for care. Keep in mind that whether a virus or bacteria cause pink eye, it can spread if someone touches that sticky or runny discharge from the eyes, or touches objects contaminated by the discharge. Wash and sanitize your hands frequently, and do not share towels, cups, or utensils with others.

 

How to Protect Your Eyes and Health

Guarding your eyes — as well as your hands, nose, and mouth — can slow the spread of coronavirus. In addition to checking with Dr. Davis for an eye exam, here are some ways to you can keep your eyes safe and healthy during this coronavirus outbreak.

 

1. If you wear contact lenses, consider switching to glasses for a while.

There is no evidence that wearing contact lenses increases your risk of coronavirus infection. However, contact lens wearers do touch their eyes more than the average person. Consider wearing glasses more often, especially if you tend to touch your eyes a lot when your contacts are in. Substituting glasses for lenses can decrease irritation and force you to pause before touching your eye. If you continue wearing contact lenses, be sure to follow hygiene tips.

 

2. Wearing glasses may add a layer of protection.

Corrective lenses or sunglasses can shield your eyes from infected respiratory droplets. But keep in mind that these do not provide 100 percent security or safety. The virus can still reach your eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms of your glasses. If you are caring for a sick patient or potentially exposed person, safety goggles may offer a stronger defense.

 

3. Stock up on eye medicine prescriptions if you can.

Experts advise patients to stock up on critical medications, so that you’ll have enough to get by through a quarantine or if supplies become limited during an outbreak. But this may not be possible for everyone. If your insurance allows you to get more than one month of essential eye medicine, such as glaucoma drops, you should do so. Some insurers will approve a three-month supply of medication in times of natural disaster. Ask your pharmacist or ophthalmologist for help if you have trouble getting approval from your insurance company. And as always, request a refill as soon as you are due. Do not wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy.

 

4. Avoid rubbing your eyes.

It can be hard to break this natural habit, but doing so will lower your risk of infection. If you feel an urge to itch or rub your eye or even to adjust your glasses, use a tissue instead of your fingers. Dry eyes can lead to more rubbing, so consider adding moisturizing drops to your eye routine. If you must touch your eyes for any reason — even to administer eye medicine — wash your hands first with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Then wash them again after touching your eyes.

 

5. Practice safe hygiene and social distancing.

Wash your hands a lot with soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching surfaces others may touch, such as counters or doors. Follow good contact lens hygiene and avoid touching or rubbing your nose, mouth, and eyes. Be aware of those around you and do your best to maintain at least six feet of space between others.

https://www.med.unc.edu/ophth/files/2020/03/CoronaVirusandYourVision.pdf

 

Tips for Overcoming Face Mask Obstacles

Every patient reports varying success with the need to wear a face mask or other protective covering. Many even joke about it and take it in stride. We mentioned earlier just how important a face mask is as an easy means to ensure protection. For some, wearing a face mask can create its own form of discomfort—particularly for those who must wear eyeglasses!

 

As an eye care office, Dr. Davis offers these tips for overcoming some of the obstacles patients may encounter when wearing face masks. We see many patients who come to us for an eye exam. Become familiar with how to wear a face mask and the steps you can take to avoid fogging up your eyewear:

 

Know how to wear a face mask

It may be one of the more innocuous problems of the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s a nuisance nonetheless: fogged-up eyewear. It happens when warm breath escapes from the top of your mask and lands on the cooler surface of your lens.

 

When both glasses and masks are required

As annoying as it may be, don’t stop wearing your mask. Masking helps stop the spread of COVID-19. Instead, follow our tips for keeping your eyeglasses, sunglasses or safety goggles clear.

 

Unfortunately, ophthalmologists are treating more and more injuries in people who weren’t wearing safety goggles while masked. They treat construction workers who suffered ruptured eyeballs after removing foggy safety goggles. Many report treating inexperienced homeowners who didn’t think they needed to protect their eyes while doing small projects around the house.

 

“If there’s an ‘ON’ button or there’s a chemical involved, I always tell my patients to wear eye protection,” says ophthalmologist Rebecca Taylor, MD.

 

Whether you are an essential worker on a construction site or just squinting through the fog to see what’s on the grocery store shelf, here are some tips to prevent your face mask from fogging up your eyewear:

  • Fit your mask to your face

If your mask doesn’t fit your face well, warm air is likely to escape and fog up your lenses. When putting on your mask, make sure to pinch the top of the mask to fit the shape of your nose.

  • If your mask allows it, tighten the sides as well for a good fit

Use medical or athletic tape to close the gap between the bridge of your nose and the top of your mask. If you don’t have tape, try an adhesive bandage.

  • Wipe your lenses before wearing them

An anti-fogging solution or even gently washing your lenses with soap and water before wearing them may help. This will keep water droplets from building up and fogging your lenses.

  • Adjust your glasses

Pushing your glasses forward on your nose will allow more air to circulate and keep your breath from fogging up your vision.

  • Rest your glasses over your face mask

Try pulling your mask up over your nose and rest your glasses on top of it. This will block the air from escaping and prevent fogging. If you try this, make sure your mask still fits properly over your face. Your nose and mouth should be completely covered.

 

Information adapted from these sources:

https://approachms.com/tips-to-avoid-foggy-glasses-while-mask-wearing/

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/face-mask-foggy-glasses-coronavirus-covid

For excellence in eye care, schedule your appointment with Glenn K. Davis, II, M.D., today at our offices in Pulaski (540) 980-1965 or Galax (276) 236-8307. Be sure to revisit our blog for future updates and stay in touch by liking us on Facebook.