The NMAO is recommending that all NM ophthalmologists and optometrists follow the current CDC guidelines issued on March 17. These recommendations are regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and we ask that all members comply and also help us to urge the leadership of the NM optometric society to act in a similar fashion in order to reduce the rate of transmission and conserve scarce personal protection equipment or PPE in our state. Please communicate these recommendations in the spirit of cooperation, directly to the optometrists that you work with on a regular basis and also feel free to communicate, again in a kind way, to the optometric society leaders directly by emailing or calling their Executive Director at:
Executive Director Richard Montoya
1335 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, #241
Taos, NM 87571
Phone: (575) 751-7242
Fax: (575) 751-7243
I have been so impressed to see so many of our members here in Albuquerque acting quickly to follow these recommendations, putting patients before profits. We are all so fortunate to work in such a great community of physicians. Additionally, we all still have patients with urgent sight threatening eye problems that simply cannot wait to be seen in our clinics. Please feel free to reach out to us with your clinics’ ideas for how to keep everyone safe so that we can share with the eye care community. At UNM, we have implemented patient screenings, social distancing in the waiting spaces, limiting patient visits to only urgent (cannot wait more than 90 days) visits, canceling all elective surgeries, pen cleaning in the check in area, and adding easily home made face shields to our slit lamps (picture below), in addition to diligent hand washing, wiping down of all surfaces and equipment after each encounter, and distancing ourselves during non-examination periods. We also have tried to minimize patient movement within the clinic which is easier to do with our reduced schedules. Therefore patients are being worked up and seen by their eye care providers in the same room when possible.
If you have not done so already, the AAO has a comprehensive guide for patients and practice management on their website and we will place a link for this on our NMAO website.
Please read a summary of the CDC guidelines below as provided by the AAO and we wish everyone well during this difficult time.
Health care facilities and clinicians should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks. The following actions can preserve staff, personal protective equipment and patient care supplies; ensure staff and patient safety; and expand available hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Delay all elective ambulatory provider visits.
- Reschedule elective and non-urgent admissions.
- Delay inpatient and outpatient elective surgical and procedural cases.
- Postpone routine dental and eyecare visits.
Rachel E. Davis Sean Rivera