Coronavirus update – moving back to a new normal
We are gradually moving back towards what will be a new kind of normal. So we are now providing an expanded scope of service, but adapted to maintain a COVID-safe environment.
Recent advice from Optometry Australia is, “Australian Government Department of Health officials suggest that as pandemic restrictions ease in each jurisdiction, if appropriate infection control and risk mitigation approaches are used, optometrists can use their clinical judgement to determine what consultations can be conducted.
Optometry Australia interpret this to mean that, provided you are according with the relevant restrictions for the state and territory, and implementing stringent infection control, optometrists can begin providing the standard suite of optometric services.”
We are now open for the vast majority of cases where our patients believe they have a specific need, whether or not it is urgent or an emergency. So generally speaking, if you feel that you need to come in, you should come in. For our part we will maintain important measures for social distancing and hygiene.
Circumstances will continue to change, and over time we will hopefully return closer still to what was the old normal. We will also allow some limited flexibility to what is outlined below.
A guide to which services will and will not be available
As well as still being available for emergency care, we are now also open for less urgent issues. These might include minor changes in vision, if it’s been a long time since your previous examination, if you have a particular concern about your eyes and/or vision, or even if you’re just looking for a new pair of glasses.
We are also open for regular monitoring of patients known to have a chronic eye disease such as cataract or glaucoma. This is in line with recent government advice for people with chronic health conditions not to avoid clinically necessary reviews. For the moment we are generally holding off, however, on visits that are purely for a regular routine review for patients with no issues or known chronic disease.
Among the few services we wish to limit unless absolutely necessary are those which require repeated appointments and/or appointments of extended length. The most obvious of these are complex new contact lens fits, and comprehensive dry eye assessments.
Some of us are at greater risk from COVID-19. If this is the case for you, we suggest taking a suitably cautious approach to making appointments, but not to the point of ignoring your eye health.
If you are unsure whether or not you should attend the practice, please contact us either by phone or email and one of the optometrists will be happy to discuss your situation with you.
What you can expect when you visit us and what we will ask you to do
In order to limit and control the number of people in the practice at any one time, we ask that you contact us to make an appointment prior to coming to the practice. This applies not just to appointments with your optometrist, but if you wish to see one of the dispensing staff, for example if looking for new glasses.
As we have been doing for some time, we will continue to ask questions to check that you are not currently unwell or at greater risk of carrying the coronavirus, for example having been in close contact with another person diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19.
Where possible we ask that you attend the practice unaccompanied. If you need to be accompanied this must be limited to one person; generally (with some exceptions) accompanying persons will not be admitted to the consulting room and should remain in the waiting area.
All patients should use the hand sanitiser at reception on arrival at the practice, and before trying on any frames.
For your safety and ours, we especially ask that you have downloaded the COVID-safe app and have it running when in the practice.
You may find that your consultations are slightly shorter than usual in order to keep contact times in close proximity as short as possible, and that we concentrate primarily on your immediate needs. If you feel after your examination that you need further explanation regarding your eyes, our optometrists will be very happy to discuss further over the telephone.
We ask that payments be contactless. We are very happy to take orders and payments over the telephone for items such as disposable contact lenses, and to post those items out without further charge.
How else we will keep you (and us) safe
Hand sanitiser is readily available in a prominent position at reception for patients’ use and is also regularly used by all optometrists and staff.
Appointments are spaced further apart than usual to minimise the number of people in the practice at any one time. This also enables the consulting rooms to be thoroughly wiped down between patients.
Optometrists and staff will maintain strict hygiene procedures including the regular washing and sanitising of hands. Alcohol wipes are applied to equipment in consulting rooms and for imaging between every patient.
Our EFTPOS terminal pad will also be regularly disinfected with wipes containing alcohol.
Should you wish to wear a mask, and/or have the optometrist or staff member wear a mask when attending to you, on request we are happy to provide or don a mask as appropriate.
Any frame that has been tried by other patients will be removed from the display and not replaced until it has been appropriately cleaned.
In these uneasy and swiftly changing times we wish to reassure you that in our practice we are following the recommendations of the Australian government and of our professional and governing bodies to slow the spread of coronavirus.