Information and advice for people with eye conditions surrounding Covid-19

02 April 20

written by:

Róisín Treacy

(more articles)

An older man sitting at his computer, holding his glasses and looking concerned.
We have partnered with RNIB, Guide Dogs, Visionary, VICTA, Fight for Sight, Vision UK and the Macular Society to bring our supporters answers to some of the most frequently asked questions around coronavirus and eye conditions. 

My cataract operation/treatment has been cancelled, what do I do?

Delays in routine surgery for cataracts due to coronavirus could mean that if you are waiting for surgery, your wait will be extended. Whilst this is unavoidable, the following information may help you to cope whilst you wait.

To reassure you, a delay in surgery for cataracts does not put your sight at risk permanently. Cataracts do not cause permanent loss of vision and a delay of several months would not mean you are at a higher risk of complications or that the result will not be as good as it would have been.

I’m supposed to have an injection, but I’m worried about attending the hospital. Should I still go?

Yes, unless you have been notified by your consultant not to attend or you are displaying coronavirus symptoms. If you are displaying symptoms, or have been in contact with someone who has, follow the government advice and call 111 but make sure they are aware that you are due for an essential injection too. If you can, let the hospital know you are unable to attend.

Hospitals are aware of the risks of the virus and are following strict cleaning protocols. Injections are a surgical procedure carried out in clean rooms; all staff are compliant with infection prevention. The hospital will only be recommending essential treatment and injections that are essential to protect vision. The hospital will not be deliberately or lightly putting you at risk.

How do I get access to my glaucoma medication?

If you have glaucoma, the hospital provides an initial supply of drops either for two weeks or a month. The hospital sends a letter to your GP requesting that the GP supplies the requested drops in the future. As far as we are aware there are no issues with supply chain and doctors are asking patients not to stockpile medication. For more information, call your doctors surgery to check their repeat prescription timeframes.

How do I get access to my medication?

If you need access to medication during the coronavirus pandemic, call your doctors surgery directly as they will advise on the best local service they can provide to you to ensure you receive your medication. Each surgery will have different prescription timeframes.  

There are also a number of online pharmacy delivery services that can enable you to continue to receive your prescription without visiting the doctors surgery or pharmacy. The NHS website has further information.  

If you live in England and you have a medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19), register on the gov.uk website to let them know whether or not you need support.

If you live in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales further information can be found on the following links:

Scotland

Northern Ireland

Wales

I've had a procedure (i.e. a corneal graft), do I need to attend my post op appointment?

Yes. Unless you have been notified by your consultant that this is not essential or you are displaying coronavirus symptoms. If you are displaying symptoms, follow the government advice and call 111 but make sure they are aware that you are due for a post op assessment too. However, you should have the telephone number of the department issued with your discharge letter, so if you are concerned please contact your consultant via this number.

Should I continue to use my eye drops during Covid-19?

Yes. If you are being prescribed drops for any eye condition, you should continue to use them as directed by your consultant. It is very important that you do not stop, as interrupting your treatment can cause problems with your vision.

We’ve all been instructed not to touch our faces and eyes to avoid infection. However, if you’ve been told to pinch the corner of your eyelid while putting your eye drops in, you should still be doing this as it is an important stage in making sure your drops are effective.

Before you start putting in your eye drops, it is really important that you wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, as advised by the Government. As long as your hands are clean, then you are not going to cause infection while putting your eye drops in.

If you are in need of support at this challenging time or would like to share your experiences or concerns around managing an eye condition during the pandemic please contact info@fightforsight.org.uk.

Our plans to continue the eye research pipeline throughout the covid-19 crisis and beyond Important eye care during Covid-19 pandemic Read more about our research

 

 

 

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