Update for Coronavirus in Ophthalmology

jose 31 March, 2020 16899 No Comments


On behalf of Bausch + Lomb, we want to thank all of the health professionals fighting against COVID-19.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, the situation has evolved into a declared pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Due to the importance of the situation, the WHO is constantly providing updated information on the number of cases, as well as on relevant information and recommendations to the population and health professionals.

To date, with more than 693,224 confirmed global cases,1* some ophthalmological societies as the American Academy of Ophthalmology, are sharing important ophthalmological information related to the novel coronavirus.2

It is known that patients with SARS-CoV-2 often have symptoms, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Serious complications include pneumonia. Symptoms normally appear 2-14 days after exposure. In addition, some reports suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may cause conjunctivitis and be transmitted by aerosol to the conjunctiva.1,2

Since ophthalmology professionals may be at high risk due the proximity in the examination, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is providing specific information which includes guidance on how to identify patients with exposure to SARS-CoV-2, recommended protocol when scheduling or seeing patients and new interim guidance for the ophthalmology patients triage.2

Recommended AAO protocols include2

  • Clinicians should postpone those outpatients visits and procedures that can be safely delayed, particularly in elderly patients and those with comorbidities.
  • If the office setup permits, patients who come should be asked prior to entering the waiting room about respiratory illness and whether they or a family member have travelled to a high-risk area in the past 14 days. If they answer yes to either question, they should be sent home and told to speak to their primary care physician.
  • Keep the waiting room as empty as possible, and reduce the visits of the most vulnerable patients.
  • If a patient with known COVID-19 infection needs urgent ophthalmic care, they should be sent to a hospital or centre equipped to deal with COVID-19 and urgent eye conditions.
  • The use of slit-lamp barriers or breath shields is encouraged.
  • Inform patients that they should speak as little as possible during the slit-lamp examination.

Disinfection practices include those already used to prevent the spread of other viral pathogens in the office before and after each patient visit, as the virus is most likely susceptible to alcohol-based disinfectants and bleach.2

Other basic measures are the protection of the mouth, nose, and eyes in the care of patients potentially infected with SARS-CoV-2, and the use of 70% alcohol solutions to disinfect tonometer tips from SARS-CoV-2, or disposable tonometer tips if available.2

“In the meantime, take care of yourself and your family.”


*Data available on March 31st.


  1. World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Situation Report – 70. Available on: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200330-sitrep-70-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=7e0fe3f8_2
  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Alert: Important coronavirus updates for ophthalmologist. Available on: https://www.aao.org/headline/alert-important-coronavirus-context

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