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Sterilization and Precautionary Protocols in View of COVID-19

Reassurance from Dr. Dunn – March 2020

In view of the recent notoriety of the international and US COVID-19 outbreak, I wanted to reassure you and highlight some of the steps we have taken to make your eye care visit the safest place to be during this period of heightened awareness.

Sterilization and Hygiene: Our normal protocol is to sterilize with alcohol all equipment that is touched by staff or patients (cover paddle, microscopes, phoropter-that’s the big thing we put in front of your eyes when checking your glasses prescription) as well as the examination chair and counter-tops between each use of an examination room. We are adding an alcohol wipe down of the door handles and all other surfaces that are touched by you or our staff to this protocol. This should be performed in front of you, as patient, by our technicians and/or doctors.

Hand washing and sanitizing: We have hand sterilizers present in every examination room. These are used by doctors and staff (and can be used by you as patients) as well. We instruct our clinical staff to sanitize/sterilize hands every time they leave a room, so you can be assured of safety when shaking hands or being touched around the eyes during examination by our doctors.

Shaking hands: This is a common courtesy extended by our doctors to each and every patient. It is a formal gesture of greeting and appreciation for you as patient being taken care of by us. In view of potential virus transmission, we are encouraging a temporary foregoing of hand shaking, hugs and other normal interpersonal greetings. Don’t be offended. It is for both your and our protection!

Healthy staff members: We are discouraging any staff member who has fever, symptoms of virus or who knowingly has come in contact with a person infected, to stay home. We also will without hesitation send a staff member home if we suspect any illness.

Your accompanying family: Many clinics are discouraging family from accompanying patients during their examination. Not us. We recognize that care for a patient is often augmented by the accompanying family member (especially with children, teenagers, elderly…or husbands who don’t always admit to symptoms!) While we are not yet limiting family, please keep those who accompany you to a minimum and do not bring any member of the family into the office if they have a fever, virus symptoms or knowingly have been in contact with an infected person. We reserve the right to restrict access to the office if we are concerned about any person having virus symptoms – our staff, you or your accompanying family. Let’s help each other to make this office the safest place during this period of heightened focus on reducing the community spread of COVID-19, flu or any other viral illness.

Frames on Display: Our opticians maintain strict hand washing and sterilization protocols, just like we do in our examination areas. It is customary for us to regularly clean and wipe down any frame temporarily removed from the display boards. We are adding another step. Every frame that is placed on a person’s head for fitting and fashion purposes, will NOT return to the display board until it has been disinfected. This way you can be assured of the safety and sterility of any frame we try on you.

Counter Tops and Pens: All counter tops where patients or staff potentially touch, including keyboards, will be routinely and regularly wiped and sterilized. We will encourage you to use your own pen when checking out and signing any paperwork. If you do not have one available, we will either provide one for you to keep, or let you use one of our pens, sterilizing it immediately after you, as a patient use it.

Contact Lens Care: We recognize some patients may prefer to forego their contact lens evaluation and eye exam so as to avoid public places over the next two months. We do not want patients to extend their contact lens use unsafely. Therefore, I have instructed our doctors and our tech on call at each office to extend the length of contact lens prescriptions, with doctor approval, by 3-6 months. In this manner, patients may order additional supplies of contact lenses without having their one-year contact lens examination. The contact lens examination will be moved, for those preferring this, to 3-6 months later. When calling our office to order additional supplies of contact lenses, ask for Angela in Troy @ 334-566-2020, Jennifer in Enterprise @ 334-393-2020, Kay in Luverne @ 334-335-2020 and Kimberly in Ozark @ 334-445-3937. They can accept your credit card and ship the contact lenses directly to you, while also scheduling a contact lens appointment for you later in the year.

Contact Lens and Glasses Pickup: If you prefer to pick up glasses, contact lenses or products ordered from us outside of the office, we will accommodate. Please call and let us know you are in the parking lot in front of the office and we will bring your contacts, glasses or eye drops to you. (By the way, this is a great option we always provide for pregnant mothers, those with walking difficulties, or busy moms (and dads) with kids in the car.) Payments by credit card can be made using our staff also.

A Fast Pass Option for those that Want it: Beginning March 23rd, each office will offer a Fast Pass eye examination option with a guarantee of in and out of the office within 30 minutes total. This minimizes patient time in a community place, is a prudent preventative step for minimizing virus contact, while also achieves needed eye health. There is a $75 fee for this service, yet you will move to the very front of the line upon entering and receive a gift card for use in our optical or on contact lens annual supplies. There are only a few select times available for Fast Pass but we will expand this option as patient’s request it and as we monitor demand.

In Summary, Special Circumstances Require Special Responses.

I, my doctors, and staff, want you to be assured of the safety, cleanliness and dedication to minimizing any viral transmission in our offices. We appreciate you as a patient. Help us help you as a part of our community wide effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, flu and other communicable diseases. –Dr. Dunn

Sterilization and Precautionary Protocols in View of COVID-19
Reassurance from Dr. Dunn – March 2020