COVID-19 Your Eye Safety

It’s important to remember that although there is a lot of concern about coronavirus, common sense precautions can significantly reduce your risk of getting infected.

It’s important to remember that although there is a lot of concern about coronavirus,

common sense precautions can significantly reduce your risk of getting infected.

So wash your hands a lot, follow good hygiene and avoid touching or rubbing your nose, mouth and especially your eyes.

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.

Guarding your eyes — as well as your hands and mouth — can slow the spread of


Limiting eye exposure can help. Here’s why:

When a sick person coughs or talks, virus particles can spray from their mouth or nose into

another person’s face. You’re most likely to inhale these droplets through your mouth or

nose, but they can also enter through your eyes.

People who have coronavirus can also spread the illness through their tears. Touching

tears or a surface where tears have landed can be another portal to infection.

Conjunctivitis develops in about 1-3% of people with coronavirus. The virus can spread by

touching discharge from an infected person’s eyes.

You can also become infected by touching something that has the virus on it — like a table

or doorknob — and then touching your eyes.

What to expect at your eye appointment at Bowen Eye Clinic:

Questions before you come to your appointment

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 or a family member traveled to a high risk area in the past 14 days?

Have you been in close physical contact with someone with a confirmed case of Coronavirus?

If you answer yes to either question, you will be sent home and advised to phone

Healthline 0800 358 5453

Clinic cleaning and disinfection

The virus that causes COVID-19 is very likely susceptible to the same alcohol and bleach based disinfectants that ophthalmologists commonly use to disinfect their rooms. Bowen Eye Clinic is a sterile, disinfected environment. 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 once only used and sterilised at an onsite dedicated hospital grade sterilisation facility.

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, eftpos machine, reception counter and waiting room area while you are here. We have hand sanitiser gel at our front desk for you to use as you come in.

Waiting room will be kept quiet and appointment times running as scheduled

You may notice that our waiting room is quiet. We are 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.

During your eye examination

Ophthalmologists sit face-to-face with many patients daily. During a slit-lamp exam, the doctor’s face will be just a few inches away from yours. But rest assured that ophthalmologists, like all medical professionals, follow strict hygiene and disinfection guidelines. Dr Hall uses a special plastic barrier called a slit-lamp breath shield. This helps block the exchange of breath between patient and doctor. Your ophthalmologist may also wear a mask with a plastic shield over their eyes. Your ophthalmologist may wait until after your slit-lamp eye exam to talk with you or answer your questions.

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.

Some precautions that you may wish to take:

If you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses for a while

Contact lens wearers touch their eyes more than the average person. Consider wearing glasses more often, especially if you tend to touch your eyes a lot when your contacts are in. Substituting glasses for lenses can decrease irritation and force you to pause before touching your eye.

Check that you have current eye medicine prescriptions

If you require critical medications, so that you'll have enough to get by if you are quarantined or if supplies become limited during an outbreak, ask your pharmacist or ophthalmologist for help. And as always, request a refill as soon as you're due. Don't wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy. 

Avoid rubbing your eyes

We all do it. While it can be hard to break this natural habit, doing so will lower your risk of infection. If you feel an urge to itch or rub your eye or even to adjust your glasses, use a tissue instead of your fingers. Dry eyes can lead to more rubbing, so consider adding moisturising drops to your eye routine. If you must touch your eyes for any reason — even to administer eye medicine — wash your hands first with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

We’re here to help

If you have any concerns regarding your appointment please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 04 464 0003.