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The COVID-19 outbreak is expected to continue for a while, but that doesn't mean you should avoid seeing your eye doctor just to comply with social distancing guidelines. Ophthalmologists have seen a recent spike in serious yet preventable eye conditions and are encouraging patients everywhere not to neglect their eye health.

Did you have an eye appointment coming up but canceled it to avoid being in a public space? Have you assumed that your optometrist is not seeing patients during COVID-19 or no longer performing surgeries? 

For the past several weeks during quarantine, many people have avoided seeing their doctor (whether they feel healthy or not) to comply with social distancing guidelines. Although limiting travel is still an important part of flattening the curve, eye care specialists have seen a surge in serious eye conditions in patients. 

Some of the conditions eye doctors have diagnosed and treated more frequently include:  

1. Retinal Detachment 

Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition where the retina, which is responsible for sending visual signals to the brain, becomes separated from its supporting tissues. This can cause permanent vision loss if not treated promptly. The risk of retinal detachment increases with age and other underlying health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

2. Corneal Ulcers 

Corneal ulcers are open sores on the surface of the eye that can cause severe pain, redness, and vision changes. They can develop from infections, injuries, or underlying conditions like dry eye or contact lens overuse. If left untreated, corneal ulcers can lead to permanent scarring and vision loss.

3. Iritis 

Iritis, also known as anterior uveitis, is an inflammation of the iris (colored part of the eye) and can cause eye pain, redness, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision. It can occur on its own or as a complication of other health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders or infections. If left untreated, iritis can lead to serious complications such as glaucoma or cataracts.

4. Worsening Cataracts 

Cataracts are a natural part of aging, but they can worsen quickly if left untreated. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, causing vision to become blurry or distorted. If cataracts continue to progress without treatment, they can eventually lead to blindness. 

5. Glaucoma 

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can result in permanent damage to the optic nerve, causing vision loss and potentially blindness. It is often caused by increased pressure within the eye and can develop slowly over time, making it difficult to detect without regular eye exams. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss.

Could I Be At Risk For Certain Eye Conditions?

Certain groups of people are automatically at a higher risk for contracting eye diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, and refractive errors.  High-risk groups include:

  • Individuals from Asian, African, or Caribbean backgrounds
  • Diabetics
  • Adults 40 or older
  • High blood pressure or high blood glucose levels
  • Heart disease or hypertension
  • Myopia (short-sightedness)
  • Hyperopia (long-sightedness) 

Everett & Hurite wants to remind all of our patients that their safety is our utmost concern. We encourage everyone to take the initiative and contact our office for a virtual or in-person visit if they have a new or ongoing issue related to their eye health. This is especially applicable for those with chronic health conditions that can negatively affect eye health, particularly diabetes and high blood pressure. 

Why You Should Continue To See Your Eye Care Specialist at E&H Eyecare

Everett & Hurite understands that the current situation with COVID-19 may cause some hesitation when it comes to seeking medical care. However, it is crucial to continue prioritizing your eye health for several reasons:

1. Early Detection and Treatment

Many eye conditions do not have noticeable symptoms in their early stages, making regular eye exams crucial for early detection and treatment. By continuing to see your eye care specialist, you can catch potential issues before they progress and potentially cause permanent damage to your vision.

2. Safety Protocols in Place

Our eye care specialists at Everett & Hurite are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our patients during this time. This includes increased sanitation measures and social distancing guidelines in our office, as well as offering virtual appointments for those who prefer to stay at home. Your safety is our top priority.

3. Preventive Measures for High-Risk Groups

If you fall into a high-risk group for eye diseases, it is even more important to continue seeing your eye care specialist for routine exams and monitoring. This can help catch any potential issues early on and prevent irreversible damage to your vision. Your eye care specialist can also provide guidance on how to manage your condition and keep it under control.

Take Care of Your Eyes During COVID-19

In addition to regular visits with your eye care specialist, there are other steps you can take to maintain the health of your eyes during this time:

  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Wear sunglasses when outdoors to protect against UV rays
  • Take breaks from screens and use the 20-20-20 rule (look away every 20 minutes at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds)
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes with unwashed hands 

Protect Your Vision with Everett & Hurite

It is essential to prioritize your ocular health even during the quarantine period. While social distancing guidelines are important, neglecting your eye care can lead to serious and preventable conditions. If you have an upcoming appointment or any concerns regarding your eye health, do not hesitate to contact your eye care specialist for a virtual or in-person visit.

Everett & Hurite remains open for in-office, telemedicine visits, and surgical procedures. We are committed to providing excellent, ongoing care for our patients while taking every possibleprecaution to prevent the spread ofCOVID-19. We are here to address your concerns both in-person and digitally. Request an appointment online or call us at 412-288-0858.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I protect my eyes while looking at a screen all day?

To prevent digital eye strain, it is important to take frequent breaks from screens and follow the 20-20-20 rule (look away every 20 minutes at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds). Additionally, make sure to adjust your screen's brightness and contrast levels and sit at a comfortable distance from the screen. Wearing blue light-blocking glasses can also help reduce strain on your eyes.

Can blurry vision be a sign of an eye condition? 

Yes, blurry vision can be a symptom of various eye conditions, such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia. If you experience persistent or sudden blurry vision, it is important to schedule an appointment with our eye care specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.  

Can contact lenses cause damage to the blood vessels in my eyes? 

Yes, wearing contact lenses for extended periods or not properly cleaning them can lead to irritation and damage to the blood vessels in your eyes. It is important to follow proper hygiene and wear schedules recommended by our eye care specialist.