COVID-19 has put the world in a scare due to its unprecedented virulence. People are being encouraged to stay home to reduce infection rates, but this, in turn, has had negative effects on other sectors of healthcare.
Just because the coronavirus is spreading doesn’t mean that other health problems are taking a back seat.
That is why eye doctors – called ophthalmologists, are getting creative and turning to technology to bring eye care home. Through virtual visits and virtual doctor appointments, they are now offering eye care to all and reserving in-person sessions only for emergency cases.
Fancy a doctor’s appointment through FaceTime? You may have no choice in the matter, according to Optometry Australia and the Australian Department of Health, which have both released an advisory for eyecare during the pandemic.
All eye doctors and specialists are taking this advice to minimise or do away with routine visits, instead opting for virtual visits to help diagnose and follow up on patients. Some optometrists are using conventional social media and online platforms to schedule these visits.
Some of the more popular platforms include Apple’s FaceTime, video calls through Facebook, Zoom, Whatsapp, among others. For these, you just need a camera, a smartphone, or a good webcam so that the doctor can get a good look at your eyes.
Other clinics had already developed special Telehealth tools to help diagnose, treat, and follow up on eye problems. Some of the common problems they can diagnose in this manner include visual acuity, inflammation, physical damage, swelling, among others.
Despite the convenience offered by these virtual doctor’s appointments, ophthalmologists are quick to warn that they cannot take the place of an in-person visit. For one, they open up a greater possibility of making mistakes in diagnosis and treatment.
Second, if any tests have to be carried out such as those required for contact lens and glasses, virtual visits won’t help. However, they can help determine who needs an in-person session and who needs emergency intervention, thus reducing foot traffic in the clinics.
As COVID-19 ravages the world, virtual consultation is a temporary measure meant to patch up the missing links in healthcare it has caused. Most hospitals are not even attending to eye patients, and no one would go to the ER anyway due to fear.
Thus, these virtual eye care appointments are playing a massive role in bringing professional care to those who need it most. It is helping to reassure people that they can still get help when they need it.
Contact us today or call us at (02) 9230 0010 to book an appointment. Remember, if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms, please call to reschedule your booking. At our George Street eye centre here in Sydney, we will check out your eyes and help correct any damage before it is too late.