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Bowen Eye Clinic is following the Ministry of Health and RANZCO NZ Branch guidelines in preventing the spread of Coronavirus and managing COVID-19. Bowen Eye Clinic will offer semi-urgent elective ophthalmic clinics and elective surgery provided in a safe environment at Level 3.

Bowen Eye Clinic is following the Ministry of Health and RANZCO NZ Branch guidelines in preventing the spread of Coronavirus and managing COVID-19.

As from Tuesday 28 April, under Alert Level 3, Bowen Eye Clinic will offer semi-urgent elective ophthalmic clinics and elective surgery provided in a safe environment. If you have a semi-urgent eye problem and wish to be seen and proceed with treatment this can now be done at Level 3. The following measures have been put in place for the safety of patients and staff.

Bowen Eye Clinic is a COVID-19 safe work environment

Laser Eye Surgery

Unfortunately we will not be offering any Laser Eye Surgery procedures such as LASIK or PRK at Level 3. These procedures are considered non-urgent and may be offered at Level  2.

Cataract Surgery

Unfortunately we will not be offering routine Cataract Surgery procedures at Level 3. Some patients considered semi-urgent will be offered Cataract Surgery at Level 3. This may be available at Bowen Hospital, Southern Cross Hospital and Crest Hospital.

Appointment screening questions

We will be phoning people who had previously booked appointments and/or surgery to offer a follow up consultation and/or surgery time if it is considered semi-urgent.

In order to identify people with possible exposure to Coronavirus our staff will ask you:

Are you feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms, a fever or acute respiratory illness?

Have you been in close physical contact with someone with a confirmed case of Coronavirus in the last 2-14 days?

Have you or a family member that you have been in contact with returned from overseas travel in the past 14 days?

If you answer yes to either of these questions, we are unable to book you an appointment and we will recontact you at a later date. If you have an urgent eye condition based on screening questions we may ask you to attend your local DHB eye department. We may ask you to contact your primary care physician or Healthline 0800 358 5453.

Please do not come to the clinic if you or someone in your household has a cough,

temperature or flu-like illness.

Travel to Bowen Eye Clinic with someone in your bubble

Travel to the clinic with someone in your bubble, if possible, and consider being dropped off at the front entrance while they park the car.  Your accompanying person should remain in the car. If your accompanying person needs to escort you inside, they will be asked the same screening questions and be required to sign our contact tracing register.

Social Distancing and Contact Tracing

Front reception

On arrival our front door will remain open to reduce the amount of people making contact with door handles.

There is a yellow line in front of our reception area that we ask you not to cross in order to keep social distance from our front reception.

An ATTENTION COIVD-19 poster is on display at our front desk.

All of our staff will be wearing masks.

We will have hand sanitiser gel at our front desk for you to use as you come in and leave.

We will have a register for anyone who is not a booked patient (i.e. accompanying family/friends, the person who drove you to your appointment if they need to escort you to the clinic, courier staff) to sign with the time and date. This will allow us to provide the Ministry of Health information for contract tracing if required.

Our waiting room will be kept quiet and appointment times will run as scheduled

You may notice that our waiting room is quiet. Our seating is over 2m apart.

We will be scheduling appointments to follow social distancing guidelines - making sure there are few people in a confined space.

To help us, please be on time for your appointment.

If you are a vulnerable patient we can offer a separate room set up as a waiting room for you.

Personal Protective Equipment - during your eye examination

Doctor Hall and our ophthalmic technician will be wearing a mask and eye shield and surgical scrubs throughout your examination. If you are a vulnerable person you may wish to bring and wear your own face mask too.

Dr Hall uses a special plastic barrier called a slit-lamp breath shield. This helps block the exchange of breath between patient and doctor. To further decrease the risk, you will be asked to not speak during any scans or slit-lamp examination.

If you anticipate a cough or sneeze during your exam, move back from the microscope or scanning machine and cover your face with a tissue. We will have tissues on hand in the clinic. If you use a tissue, throw it away promptly. Then wash your hands with soap and water.

There will be plenty of time to answer questions and discuss your eye condition at a social distance in the consultation room after your examination.

Be rest assured that ophthalmologists, like all medical professionals, follow strict hygiene and disinfection guidelines.

Additional clinic cleaning and disinfection

Bowen Eye Clinic is a disinfected environment. The virus that causes COVID-19 is very susceptible to the same alcohol and bleach based disinfectants that ophthalmologists commonly use to disinfect their rooms.

We will be cleaning all of the equipment that each patient has came in contact with between every patient. The doctor’s slit lamp and breath shield and the scanning machines are disinfected after each patient.

You may notice that we will be doing extra cleaning of our door handles, reception counter, waiting room area, and eftpos machine while you are here.

Our surgical room is disinfected using Clinidet first and then Azo wipes. Our surgical staff wear disposable gloves, masks and surgical clothing. Our surgical equipment is only used once and sterilised at an onsite dedicated hospital grade sterilisation facility.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include a mild to severe respiratory illness accompanied by a  fever, cough and breathing problems. Other symptoms include runny nose, sore throat and headache.

Most people develop only mild symptoms. Some people, usually those who are older or have other medical complications, may develop more severe symptoms, including

pneumonia, which may be fatal.

Symptoms can show up 2 to 14 days after a person is exposed.

Vulnerable Person

A vulnerable person is someone who needs to take extra care during the Covid-19 pandemic. They may be > 70 years of age with co-morbidities/immune suppression, or pregnant. There must be a balance between the risk of a patient not being treated optimally with the risk of illness and spread of COIVD-19.

If you are a vulnerable person please let our staff know when we contact you.

Telehealth may be useful in some circumstances where you are unable to come into the clinic. You will be able to access our service if you feel comfortable attending our clinic at Level 3 but may choose to wait until Level 2.

We’re here to help

Don’t worry if you have not heard from us immediately as we move into Alert Level 3. We will be contacting all prior-booked patients over the next few weeks.

If you have any concerns regarding your appointment please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0800 69 2020 or email: info@boweneye.co.nz