The impact of COVID-19 can extend to our vision. Staying up-to-date with eye care checkups is critical, particularly for those in high-risk groups and those already battling ocular diseases.
About 30 percent of those diagnosed with COVID-19 experience conjunctivitis (an eye infection), and countless others with ocular diseases that require ongoing evaluation and treatment are skipping their checkups out of fears of contracting COVID-19.
The pandemic has changed the way many people visit their doctors. However, it is important to stay up-to-date with our vision exams, particularly for those with conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy that could lead to blindness if left unchecked. Those in high-risk categories should add eye protection such as glasses or face shields to protect their eyes from virus infection along with wearing masks and washing hands frequently when visiting public places.
People also need to know, even though there are many concerns about COVID-19, common-sense precautions can significantly reduce the risk of infection. Dr. Daniel Laroche, Director of Glaucoma Services and President of Advanced Eyecare of New York, says, “Wash hands frequently, follow good contact lens hygiene and avoid rubbing or touching our mouth, nose and especially our eyes.''
The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the way people visit their doctors. For patients over 60, Dr. Laroche advises it's better to stay home and do telehealth over the phone or video consultation until the pandemic flattens. He also encourages people to wear face masks on visits and maintain social distancing, even if they are in a health clinic.
“Eyesight or human vision is one of the most important senses. As much as 80 percent of what we feel comes through our sense of sight. By protecting the eyes, people will reduce the chance of blindness and vision loss while also staying on top of any developing eye diseases, such as glaucoma and cataracts. A healthy brain function requires a healthy vision. The brain is our most essential organ, and it allows us to control other organs. Normal and healthy vision contributes to improved learning and comprehension for a better quality of life.”