Patients with sight limiting diseases like Macular Degeneration know the importance of regular treatments to preserve existing vision.
The most common treatments to slow vision loss from wet macular degeneration are anti-VEGF intravitreal injections.
These drugs are considered the first-line treatment for all stages of wet macular degeneration and are typically scheduled every 4-6 weeks to maintain effectiveness.
That all changed in the past month with the outbreak of COVID-19.
To accommodate the situation, Florida Eye Institute quickly prioritized procedures to continue providing care for their most vulnerable patient populations.
“Continuing to treat vision-threatening illness is our top priority even under these difficult circumstances,” confirms Dr. Thomas Baudo, a fellowship-trained retina ophthalmologist at Florida Eye Institute. Retina specialists are frequently on the front lines of urgent care for sight limiting conditions like macular tears, detachments and macular degeneration.
Victor Basile, Administrator for the multi-specialty practice adds, “We instituted policies as soon as the CDC recommendations came out. Whereas normally, we see hundreds of patients a day for glaucoma monitoring, corneal disease, cataract consultations and outpatient surgery, those visits have all been curtailed until restrictions are lifted.”
“We now monitor for travel risk, fever and respiratory symptoms prior to patient arrival. Waiting rooms have been modified for ‘social distancing’ and appointments are staggered to limit the total number of patients entering the facility. Treatment rooms are cleaned between each patient encounter and new personal protective equipment is used by staff to protect patients.”
“Telehealth services and video conferencing have been implemented for emergencies, “ Basile continues, “this is definitely a time when medical practice must pivot to meet the needs of our patients.”
Patients with macular degeneration expressed relief and gratitude for the revised ‘essential’ service appointment system. Advanced age-related macular degeneration a leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment in the world. As many as 11 million people in the United States have some form of age-related macular degeneration.