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California ODs Advised to Suspend ‘Nonessential’ Care Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

“We all have a role to play in ‘flattening the curve,'” says the group’s president.

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The California Optometric Association on Monday recommended that the state’s optometrists “voluntarily suspend nonessential or nonurgent optometry care for the next 14 days.”

The advice is “in step with Gov. Newsom’s recent Declaration of a State of Emergency, including the call for all seniors over the age of 65 and residents with chronic conditions to self-isolate at home,” said Dr. Jason Tu, president of COA, in a letter on the group’s website.

“As always, it is expected that optometrists will continue to be available as needed for emergency care and services,” Tu stated. “Routine eyecare is considered non-essential services under the governor’s guidelines.” The association noted in a Facebook post and on its site that regular, comprehensive eye exams “are not considered essential services.”

“COA does not make this request lightly, and it is being done out of an abundance of caution during this historic public health emergency. As health care professionals, we all have a role to play in ‘flattening the curve’ in order to follow sound, scientific public health advice to help limit infections and slow the spread of the virus.”

The American Optometric Association provides additional coronavirus resources on its website.

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