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COVID-19

An Urgent Update on COVID-19 from Minnesota Eye Consultants

To watch a video message from Dr. Jill Melicher, click here.

At Minnesota Eye Consultants, we are working diligently with our physicians and staff to prepare for any potential impact of the coronavirus for our patients, teams, and facilities. We’re closely following the latest updates from the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health, and in particular, guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology – as it specifically relates to the concerns most relevant for our patients and care teams.

Surgery Update

In an effort to keep our community safe and limit the potential spread of this disease, we are canceling and rescheduling all non-urgent surgeries and appointments until further notice. Our surgery coordinators are reaching out to patients, but if you haven’t yet been contacted regarding a previously scheduled appointment, please contact us. 

Clinic Update (updated March 26, 2020)

We are rescheduling all non-essential appointments but the good news is your eye care doesn’t have to wait.  We are are now offering virtual teleophthalmology visits for nearly all types of non-urgent visits. By using chat technology (like Apple FaceTime) on a smartphone or tablet, qualifying patients can schedule a live interactive visit with one of our providers. To learn more about virtual visits,  please click here or schedule by calling call us at 952-888-5800. Please be aware that these are billable encounters just as if you had come into the office.

Our virtual services aren’t right for everyone. We recommend you schedule an urgent clinic visit if you have:

R – Red Eyes
S –  Sensitivity
V – Vision Loss
P –  Pain

For those patients who will be seen urgently, we’ve implemented the following protocols as of March 23, 2020:

  • We have instituted an additional level of screening for your protection.  At the entrance of each building, we will have trained team members perform universal travel history, symptom screening and temperature screening for all team members, patients and their family members.
  • You will obtain a “round sticker” indicating that you have been appropriately screened and are without fever. All patients and their accompanying family or friend will be instructed to display their sticker where it can be seen, indicating that they have been appropriately screened and are fever-free. Clinic Managers and all team members will be surveying clinics to ensure all those on the premise have been adequately screened.
  • We will also be limiting family members or friends that come with patients to one per patient.

We are confident that this additional level of screening will provide the highest level of protection possible.  We hope our screening questionnaire and universal temperature screening will provide you an additional level of comfort that all individuals entering our buildings are free of symptoms and signs of COVID-19.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to our offices should you have questions or concerns.  All of our lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic.  We have worked hard to formulate a plan to keep you and our patients safe while in our offices.

COVID-19 in Ophthalmology

A recent article published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology noted that several reports suggest that COVID-19 can cause conjunctivitis (commonly known as “pink eye”). Although not as common of a symptom as fever, cough and difficulty breathing, this is something our scheduling team will take into consideration. 

More about COVID-19 from the CDC

The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Here are a few tips to protect yourself from this respiratory illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

As we all band together to work through this unprecedented global health crisis, we thank you for your patience and apologize in advance for any inconvenience it may cause.  We will continue to update this page as new information emerges, but for additional information, please call us at (952) 888-5800.

Sources: www.cdc.gov, www.aao.org