Tele-Optometry and our Pandemic Protection Plan

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In the age of a pandemic where everyone is concerned about contracting the COVID-19 virus, especially the elderly and vulnerable populations, life is anything but “normal.” Still, life goes on and other diseases and emergency conditions need to be addressed. What about ocular emergencies? How does one address concerns about eye pain or sudden loss of vision while still sheltering in place?

Our Cowichan Eyecare clinics are now offering live telemedical consults through a secure portal called doxy.me (Doc see me! Pretty punny). This allows our doctors to consult with patients and discuss potential conditions as well as do remote follow-ups, take screenshots and generally consult. This in no way replaces a full eye exam, but it does facilitate a consultation where many ocular surface conditions can be addressed telemedically. 

What Conditions are best for Tele-Optometry?

Dry, itchy, red eyes; ocular transient aura, follow up for corneal abrasion, foreign body removals and conjunctivitis are just some examples of conditions that can be followed through tele-optometry. The government of BC has recently recognized the need for tele-optometry and has partially funded these services through MSP (Medical Services Plan of BC). Other conditions such as complete loss of vision, double vision and refractive errors still require in-person comprehensive ocular assessments

Pandemic Protection Plan

Cowichan Eyecare has introduced the PPP (Pandemic Protection Plan). The purpose is to provide safeguards and sanitization to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 when in-office routine eye care visits are permitted. We have instituted protocols to protect patients, staff and doctors. Here is a review of the highlights: all patients will be asked to wash their hands and wear a provided mask when in the office; all patients entering the office will have their temperature checked to ensure no fever, those who are sick or present with a fever will not be permitted entry; all doctors and staff will be wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to safeguard everyone as well as themselves, this includes medical masks and eye protection; procedures such as lid cleanings, contact lens trainings and close contact will require staff to wear face shields; our doctor’s microscopes have been fitted with breath guards; all frames that have been tried on will be “cured” in our UV oven; all areas that patient’s contact will be sanitized immediately after the patient vacates that area, doctors and staff will be washing hands several times per hour and often many times during the eye exam and patients will be provided an antiseptic lid wipe to clean their eyes when they get home

Care 1 Collaborative Telemedicine

At our Cowichan Eyecare clinics, we are also utilizing an innovative optometrist/ophthalmologist telemedicine platform called Care1 (www.care1.ca). This allows seamless remote consults and collaborations with optometrists and ophthalmologists. This is very high tech and provides a very high level of collaborative care. Our doctors have been using this platform for over seven years. One big advantage of Care1 is that many patients do not have to go to the ophthalmologists’ office in-person, and thus reduces their risk of catching the virus and the potential medical issues that can occur with COVID-19.
We hope you all stay safe and well. Please know that we are here for all your eyecare needs and we take your safety seriously.

Written by Trevor Miranda

Dr. Miranda was raised in Simcoe, Ontario and graduated from the University of Waterloo with his Doctorate of Optometry in 1995. Following graduation, he moved to beautiful Vancouver Island, where he continues to serve the eye care needs of the Cowichan Valley. Trevor is also an active member of the Third World Eye Care Society and has participated with other professionals to improve the vision of the less fortunate. Dr. Miranda was named Optometrist of the Year by the British Columbia Association of Optometrists in March 2015. This prestigious honour recognized Dr. Miranda’s commitment to providing every patient with exceptional care while mentoring optometrists across Canada. Outside the office, you will find Trevor enjoying hockey, coaching soccer, involved with the South Cowichan Rotary Club, and spending time with his wife Cheryl and their three children. Trevor looks forward to continuing to care for the eyes of the Cowichan Valley and welcomes new patients without a referral. Dr. Miranda is available for appointments in our Duncan and Cobble Hill.
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