I have a red eye/conjunctivitis. Could this be caused by coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The answer to this is yes. Red eye/conjunctivitis was observed in 1/30 patient in Hangzhou, China in one study with virus present in the tears (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32100876). Another study of 1099 patients identified 9 with red eye, again in China, with a rate of 0.8% (https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa2002032). If you have a red eye with no temperature or cough, it is unlikely to be related to coronavirus (COVID-19). If the vision becomes blurred and remains this way for more than a few hours, please contact us for advice.
I have been told I have a cataract. How can I have cataract surgery at this time?
Cataract surgery is an elective (meaning non-urgent) procedure. At this time, the risk of elective cataract surgery is deemed too great to carry out. Deferring surgery is likely the right thing to do for now. Be aware of your vision in relation to driving and whether your vision meets the driving standard. Remember that everyone over a certain age develops some cataract (opacity or cloudiness of the lens inside your eye) and surgery is only required when the vision decreased to the point that you notice it and it starts to become bothersome in your daily activities. You can read more about cataracts by clicking here.
I have glaucoma and my glaucoma check up is due. What should I do?
We plan to triage all glaucoma patients and push back appointments where this can be done safely. Usually glaucoma that is progressing rapidly is managed in the hospital setting. Most glaucoma in the community does not cause visual loss quickly and you can feel reassured that pushing the appointment back a few months should not make a difference. Where there is doubt, please feel free to contact us. We can renew your 6 monthly prescription remotely. Please let us have your pharmacist’s contact details.
I have blepharitis and it is flaring up/my eyes are uncomfortable. What should I do?
The most important thing in the first instance is to replace the tears if the eyes are dry. We recommend using a lubricant at least four times a day such as Hylo Tear or Thealoz Duo and a thicker ointment at night such as VitaPos A (these products are provided as examples, others are available and we do not receive any financial incentive from the companies involved). Patients give good feedback about these drops. These drops can be titrated to the level of discomfort you are feeling. There is no maximum amount of times you can instil preservative free drops during the day and the ointment can also be used during the day for relief but may make the vision blurry for a short period.
Lid hygiene: It is important to clean the lids with warm water or lid wipes available in your pharmacy such as Blephaclean or Optase. Lid wipes should be used to clear crusts and blocked oil glands aiming for where the eyelashes exit the skin and the eyelid margin which the ridge of the lid that sits against the eye itself. This will reduce the amount of bacteria on the lids and also unblock the oil glands which produce important oil for the tears.
Warm compresses: Finally, placing a hot (not warm) facecloth on the lids for about 5 minutes (reheating as necessary) then pressing on the eyelids near the eyelashes and massaging this area for one minute will help release oil from the oil glands to mix with the tears. (Test the hot compress against the skin on the back of your hand first to make sure it is not too hot). Get in touch if you have any queries!