COVID-19 Resource Center
COVID-19 Resource Center
March 17, 2020
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AOA: What optometrists need to know about COVID-19

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Amidst the flurry of safety guidance provided for both health care professionals and citizens regarding COVID-19, the American Optometric Association’s Health Policy Institute provided specific guidance for eye care providers.

“Although viral conjunctival infection is usually caused by adenovirus, COVID-19 may cause ocular signs and symptoms, including photophobia, irritation, conjunctival injection and watery discharge,” the AOA’s Health Care Policy Institute (HPI) stated in a press release.

These ocular symptoms may be predominantly self-limited but may require supportive care, the statement continued. As with other bodily fluids that may contain the virus, ocular discharge and tears are a potential source of contamination, and the eye is a route for exposure.

The AOA’s HPI recommends that doctors of optometry must remain vigilant with hygiene procedures including handwashing, disinfecting equipment and using gloves, eye protection and appropriate face masks when necessary.

AOA's Health Policy Institute's recommendations for eye care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is important to proactively reinforce such infection mitigation techniques with doctors and staff, no matter the size of the office setting,” the institute said in the release.

Additionally, ODs should routinely track the progression of confirmed cases in their state.

Basic contingencies should include anticipating manufacturing disruptions of medical office supplies and cross-training key staff members so that a single absence does not affect the practice, the institute stated.