November 25, 2020
Our community is facing a looming crisis. Right here. Right now.
If you’re planning to celebrate the upcoming holiday season with extended family and friends, please reconsider—and have those celebrations virtually this year. There’s too much at stake, and we need your help.
As you gather virtually, please share the urgency of the situation facing the region using these talking points:
Space/Hospital Bed Challenges
• ALL hospitals in the region are at or near maximum capacity
• Most have used every option available to find more space:
• Opening up closed units
• Using telemedicine more frequently where possible
• Converting units to expand ICU capabilities
• Soon there may not be a bed available anywhere in the region – not just for COVID patients, but for any patient
• Nursing vacancies go unfilled across the region
• Caregivers are forced into quarantine, typically not from work, but from community exposure, which makes staffing even more challenging
• Caregivers are experiencing significant stress from multiple patient deaths, extended shifts, and managing seriously ill patients who can’t be with family
• Treatments, equipment, and medications to care for COVID patients are in short supply with continued shortages expected as infection rates rise nationally
• Many treatments are just now receiving FDA approval for emergency use or are still in experimental phases so are not yet widely available
What You Can Do
• Be vigilant AT ALL TIMES
• Wear a mask when in public or with others outside your immediate household
• Stay six feet apart from others
• Practice good hand hygiene
• Monitor you and your family for symptoms
• STAY AT HOME if symptoms develop, or while waiting for test results
• Educate and inform those around you of the real and dire situation we’re managing
• Be especially sensitive to older children, youth, and young adults who may feel less threatened by COVID but whose discipline is essential to controlling the spread of the virus
• No one wants to be responsible for infecting another person who may suffer serious side effects or death, or who goes on to infect someone who does
Thank you for all you do every day to keep our patients, our staff, and our community safe.
Best wishes for a happy—and healthy—holiday season. ... See MoreSee Less
2 weeks ago
As the COVID-19 situation in Kansas City is clearly worsening, we remain focused on maximizing safety for our patients and our staff.
We have also seen quite a few patients who chose to reschedule their visits and suffered worsening of their eye problems.
We believe we are maintaining a very safe space for patient care.
1. Everyone is questionnaire screened, temperatures checked, mask required.
2. Our schedule has been reduced to manage the total number of people in the office to permit safe distancing.
3. Only patients come to the exam room (unless aide required) and waiting times are minimal.
4. Every room and every surface is disinfected after every patient encounter.
Still, we are trying to balance providing needed care with the desire to minimize unnecessary gathering.
We are NOT limiting visits to emergency and urgent visits as was required in April, but we are trying to plan ahead in the event risks increase in the coming months.
Telemedicine visits (video calls with Facetime, Zoom, etc.) have been working well and we will be encouraging patients to make more use of this. These visits are very effective for monitoring stable or slowly progressive eye problems (some dry eye, cataract issues) and are a great way to answer patients’ questions. You may be surprised at how personal the interaction actually is and how easy the technology is to manage. All you need is a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer and minimal software (Facetime or Zoom). We have one page instruction sheets that are simple to follow. Just call our office to get this, either in hard copy or e mailed.
We have developed a plan for monitoring patients with glaucoma that combines just a few minutes of in-office testing with a telemedicine review of findings and ongoing plans.
Stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy the coming Thanksgiving holiday as much as possible – safely. ... See MoreSee Less
Be sure your voice is heard. Voting is your patriotic duty. ... See MoreSee Less
Crater Lake, Iceland, sometimes called "The Eye of The World". Take care of your eyes so you can enjoy the wonders of our world, near and far! ... See MoreSee Less
3 months ago
Face masks help reduce coronavirus transmission, which has prompted mandates and expert recommendations for their use where social distancing is difficult. As the world emerges from shutdowns, wearing face masks for extended periods of time in settings such as offices will increase.
While these protective measures are essential to combating COVID-19’s spread, a new phenomenon is emerging: increasing reports of dry, uncomfortable eyes. What is the science behind this trend, who is at risk and is there a solution?
Mask-associated dry eye
People with existing dry eye disease report worsening symptoms — affecting tens of millions of people worldwide who already struggle with the issue. Also, previously asymptomatic patients are reporting uncomfortable eyes and variable vision for the first time, particularly when reading or using digital devices for a long period of time.
It is helpful to understand our tear film, the liquid layer that coats the eye’s surface. This tiny volume of fluid, equivalent to one-tenth of a single water drop, has a highly complex structure and composition. It lubricates the surface of the eye, allowing smooth and comfortable passage of the eyelid during every blink. Ongoing imbalance in the tear film leads to dry eye disease.
Eyes feel sore, dry and irritated, and may water and look red.
There are many causes of dry eye disease, including issues relating to eye and systemic health conditions, age, gender or medications. Excessive use of digital devices, poor indoor air quality and pollution all result in symptoms. Situations that increase how quickly the tear film evaporates, such as air-conditioned offices or automobile air-blowers, can quickly and significantly dry the eye’s surface, leading to more pronounced symptoms.
Face masks significantly reduce the spread of air outwards from the mouth and nose. However, exhaled air still needs to disperse; when a mask sits loosely against the face the likely route is upwards. This forces a stream of air over the surface of the eye, creating conditions that accelerate the evaporation of the tear film, like a steady breeze blowing over damp skin.
People who wear glasses are well aware of this, shown by the annoying lens fogging that often occurs when breathing under a mask. When masks are worn for extended periods, this repeated evaporation may lead to dry spots on the ocular surface.
Similar effects have been reported with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks that are used to treat sleep apnea. Eye dryness may also result when face masks are taped to seal the top edge, if that interferes with the eyelids’ natural movement, preventing full blinks. Incomplete blinking can cause the tear film to become less stable.
In addition to those with pre-existing dry eye disease, the general mask-wearing population may find themselves wondering why their eyes are inexplicably irritated. Prolonged use of face masks in air-conditioned locations and increased digital device use while wearing masks worsen the problem.
Beyond discomfort, this presents another risk: dryness may encourage people to rub their face and eyes for temporary relief. Coronavirus transmission is possible via the mouth and nose, and, to a lesser extent, potentially the eyes. Bringing unwashed hands near the face may increase the likelihood of infection. That is an additional reason to better manage dry eye..
Several simple measures can help reduce the drying effects of upward air flow from masks.
As with any new eye-related concern, first check with an eye care practitioner for advice and to rule out other causes.
Second, ensure that a mask is worn appropriately, particularly when wearing spectacles and sunglasses. A close-fitted mask, or carefully taped top edge that does not interfere with blinking, may help direct air flow downward and prevent lenses from steaming.
Lubricating drops may help with comfort. Eye care practitioners can recommend the best type, based on medical history and circumstances.
Limit time in air-conditioned or windy environments when wearing masks, and take regular breaks from digital devices.
Don’t ditch the mask!
Is wearing a mask worth it, when you may have to possibly contend with worse dry eye? Absolutely! Masks are here for the foreseeable future. Along with social distancing and hygiene measures, they represent a crucial part of our defense against the spread of COVID-19. ... See MoreSee Less