Important coronavirus update for ophthalmology: AAO
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The American Academy of Ophthalmology is sharing important ophthalmology-specific information related to the novel coronavirus, referred to as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which was previously known by the provisional name 2019-nCoV. The highly contagious virus can cause a severe respiratory disease known as COVID-19.

What you need to know

Several reports suggest the virus can cause conjunctivitis and possibly be transmitted by aerosol contact with the conjunctiva.

Patients who present to ophthalmologists for conjunctivitis who also have a fever and respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath, and who have recently traveled internationally, particularly to areas with known outbreaks , or with family members recently back from one of these countries, could represent cases of COVID-19.

The Academy and federal officials recommend protection for the mouth, nose, and eyes when caring for patients potentially infected with SARS-CoV-2.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is very likely susceptible to the same alcohol- and bleach-based disinfectants that ophthalmologists commonly use to disinfect ophthalmic instruments and office furniture. To prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission, the same disinfection practices already used to prevent the office-based spread of other viral pathogens are recommended before and after every patient encounter.

Ophthalmology ties
Two recent reports suggest the virus can cause conjunctivitis. Thus, it is possible that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted by aerosol contact with the conjunctiva.

While it appears conjunctivitis is an uncommon event as it relates to COVID-19, other forms of conjunctivitis are common. Affected patients frequently present to eye clinics or emergency departments. That increases the likelihood ophthalmologists may be the first providers to evaluate patients possibly infected with COVID-19.

Therefore, protecting your mouth, nose (e.g., an N-95 mask) and eyes (e.g., goggles or shield) is recommended when caring for patients potentially infected with COVID-19. In addition, slit-lamp breath shields are helpful for protecting both health care workers and patients from respiratory illness.

Guidance for outpatient clinics and elective surgery

Ophthalmology offices should provide only urgent care, make efforts to decompress their waiting areas and consider alternatives such as encouraging patients to wait in other locations (e.g., their cars or outdoor spaces). Mobile phone calls or other approaches can be used by office staff to notify patients when they should return to the office.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology supports the recommendation from American College of Surgeons regarding minimizing, postponing or canceling elective surgeries while recognizing that the timing may vary by community and disease indication

Rooms and instruments should be thoroughly disinfected after each patient encounter. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Slit lamps, including controls and accompanying breath shields, should be disinfected, particularly wherever patients put their hands and face.

Tonometer tip cleaning
The virus causing COVID-19 is an enveloped virus rather than an adenovirus, the latter is much more resistant to alcohol. If a tonometer tip is cleaned with alcohol and allowed to dry in room air, 70% alcohol solutions should be effective at disinfecting tonometer tips from SARS-CoV-2. However, alcohol will not effectively sterilize the tip against adenoviruses. Use single-use, disposable tonometer tips if available.

About society:- The American Academy of Ophthalmology is a professional medical association of ophthalmologists. It is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

This list is a brief compilation of some of the key recommendations included in the Guideline and is not exhaustive and does not constitute medical advice.

Kindly refer to the original publication here
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Valuable info of control of infection to eye and disinfectants and their usage.
Mar 22, 2020Like