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CDC: Routine Eyecare Visits Should Be Postponed

The AOA also released guidance supporting the recommendations while also noting the importance of ‘urgent and emergent care provided by doctors of optometry.’



The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that routine eyecare and dental visits be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The advice was part of a March 17 “public health reminder” stating that healthcare facilities and clinicians “should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks.” The goal is to “preserve staff, personal protective equipment, and patient care supplies; ensure staff and patient safety; and expand available hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The notice also advises delaying elective ambulatory provider visits, rescheduling elective and non-urgent admissions, and delaying inpatient and outpatient elective surgical and procedural cases.

The American Optometric Association stated on its website that it supports the CDC’s guidance. It added:

Also of critical importance are immediate efforts to assure continued access to essential health care, including urgent and emergent care provided by doctors of optometry, and to reduce current and expected burdens on emergency departments.

Doctors of optometry are frontline physician providers of essential care. Urgent care is defined as medical care provided for illnesses or injuries which require prompt attention but are typically not of such seriousness as to require the services of an emergency room. Emergent care is defined as medical care for conditions requiring prompt medical attention due to a sudden change in the eye or visual health. Based on the immediate health needs of a patient, doctors of optometry can and should use their professional judgment to determine the timing and course of care, including assessing patient expressed urgency, necessary preventative care and the monitoring and refilling of prescriptions.   


In the current patient care environment, doctors and their essential professional staff have a responsibility to ensure that all fully appropriate care preparation guidelines and requirements are strictly observed. These include CDC Guidance for healthcare facilities.


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