For a few weeks now, the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has slowed the activity of our Centre and we had to cancel consultations and non-urgent surgeries. However, our 24-hour emergency department keeps open for the most urgent cases. In additon, the Center's telephone is active to attend to the mildest cases or to clarify ophthalmological doubts.
Attention during confinement: 932 095 311
Through the telephone, we respond to each patient and recommend going to ER only in cases where it is necessary. There are a number of ailments that we can resolve over the phone, as listed below.
We treat by phone:
- Styes (chalazion).
- Conjunctivitis, since COVID-19 can cause this ocular pathology, and going to the doctors is a risk to everyone's health.
We treat in person in the ER at the hospital:
- Loss of vision. This is the case of the so-called hemovitreous (presence of blood in the vitreous humor, the area inside the eye) or retinal detachments (whose symptoms cause changes in the field of vision with the appearance of a black spot or curtain).
- Intense eye pain. For example, several of the patients seen these days had neovascular glaucoma with elevated intraocular pressure.
- Corneal infections. They are being treated at the hospital because they require follow-up, although we spaced the controls.
- Foreign bodies that cause injuries.
- Eye trauma.
During the state of alarm, our Emergency Service is seeing in person between 20 and 30 patients a day who presented the described ailments, although you should also go to our Center if you have suffered a chemical or thermal caustication, or if you have a very red eye, as we tell you here.
Since some of the cases are treated face-to-face, we ask emergency patients to come with a mask. Our personnel are duly protected, in accordance with biosecurity measures:
- Surgical mask.
- Glasses, since the mucous membranes of the eye are a focus of contagion of the coronavirus
- Safety distance of two meters.
- Protection for the slit lamp, which is a tool to perform the ophthalmic examination.
- Restriction of companions, since we ask them to wait outside the consultation.
- Disinfection of consultations between patient and patient.
In addition, upon arrival at the Emergency Department, each patient is asked about the symptoms of COVID-19, as well as their recent trips or knowledge of contact with a positive person. If you comply with any of the points, our staff will take extreme biosecurity measures, adding the following:
- FFP3 mask
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Care in a separate consultation, reserved only for patients with suspected coronavirus.
Keep in mind that there are patients who carry the virus who are asymptomatic. For this reason, if you do not know if your eye condition should be treated in the ER, contact us before so that our doctors can answer your questions. The objective of this protocol is to avoid unnecessary movements and exposures to minimize the spread of the virus. Also, remember that in our news section we put at your disposal a large number of recommendations to take care of your sight during confinement.
Dr. Alba Gómez, chief resident of the Barraquer Ophthalmology Center.