We understand some people may be tempted to skip their eye appointments and macular injections as they are concerned about Coronavirus.
But here at Galloway's, we are urging people to still attend their booked sessions, because not doing so could seriously impact on your eyes. New social distancing measures have been put in place to ensure everyone's safety.
Under current government guidelines, routine appointments, such as cataract operations, glaucoma reviews and diabetic screening, have been postponed.
But urgent appointments which would, if cancelled, leave a person with untreatable sight loss within three months, are still going ahead.
Patients are still expected to attend macular clinics for injections and safety precautions are in place to keep everyone safe.
Appointments are spread out across the week, so waiting rooms are not busy.
Many patients are in and out relatively quickly, as hospitals do not want people sitting around. Rooms and equipment are cleaned between each appointment.
Alan Woodward is just one patient who took notice of expert advice and attended Westmorland General Hospital for one of his regular macular injections.
Knowing how safe and easy it was, he now urges others to put their fears aside to ensure they do not put their vision at risk.
The 83-year-old from Bolton-le-Sands says: “I was quite apprehensive about going to the hospital, but it was not that terrible and all the staff involved were marvellous.
“Glen, the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer at Galloway’s, organised patient transport for me, which took a lot of worry out of going. I felt very safe as the driver Chris was in the front of the minibus and I was sat all the way in the back, which was well in excess of 2m. Chris kindly supplied me with a mask and gloves.
“When I got to the hospital, I sat in a large waiting room. Previously there would be around 25 to 30 people, but this time there was only four of us.
“I did feel relatively safe.
“I was given an eye test and they checked the pressure at the back of my eye. I then saw another nurse who took photos of my eye using a special machine. That didn’t take that long. Then I was asked to go into another room on my own which was quite spacious. A doctor came in to see the bleed behind my eye and I was given my injection.
“So far I have had seven injections in my eye and I had not had one for seven months due to the problems with the virus. I had a slight bleed behind the eye, so I did need another injection and I will go back in six weeks for another one.
“Then I went into another room and a nurse put my eye drops in, washing her hands before and after. Everyone was wearing masks and gloves. They were wiping the seats and I did feel very safe.
“Obviously, it is very important to attend your appointments. You have to get over your apprehension because your eyes can deteriorate fairly quickly. If you don’t get the medication and help you need, you could lose your sight.”
Optometrists across England are now also expanding their services beyond urgent and essential care, and patients are urged to call to book an appointment. Depending on symptoms, the optometrists can provide a telephone or virtual consultation.
If you are worried about your vision, it is important to seek advice from your optician or optometrist. For more information on what symptoms to look out for, visit: https://www.galloways.org.uk/post/please-don-t-wait-until-lockdown-is-over-to-seek-advice-if-you-are-worried-about-your-eyesight
Please do not wait until lockdown is fully over, as it could be too late.