Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many medical associations recommend deferring in-person routine healthcare visits until further notice. Specifically, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends in-person eye care only for urgent or emergency cases (i.e. issues that may cause loss of vision or eye). This means that all routine eye care at Desert Eye Associates is now being deferred until further notice. However, the doctors and staff at Desert Eye Associates are still here to address your urgent and emergency eye care issues!
Fortunately, telehealth will help us provide eye care services during this pandemic. Our doctors will utilize telehealth to try and determine if an in-person office visit is needed to address your eye problem.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is when healthcare consultation with a doctor is received through video and/or audio technology instead of in-person. Think FaceTime or Google Hangouts, but HIPAA compliant.
How does it work in eye care?
The cameras on our phones and computers are better than ever! Our eye doctors will be able to examine many aspects of your eye using this technology. To ensure the best eye care, please wash your hands immediately before your appointment time (the doctor may ask you to touch your eyelid), make sure you are in a room with good lighting, and that you are able to bring your eye close to the camera for examination. The doctor can send the necessary medications to the pharmacy if needed.
Should I go to urgent care or the emergency room for my eye problem?
In general and specifically during this COVID-19 pandemic, it is best if you see an eye doctor for your eye problems. Our goal is to help you stay safe and avoid unnecessary visits to hospital emergency rooms. We will be in the best position to address your problem or get you to the correct provider to help.
Is this a replacement for all in-person office visits after this pandemic is over?
Telehealth visits cannot be substituted for in-office visits. There are limitations to what we can diagnose and treat with telehealth in eye care. If further examination is needed, our doctors will schedule an in-person office visit to see you.
Is this covered by my medical insurance?
During this pandemic, many commercial insurers are covering telehealth visits. Coverage varies by plans though. Medicare has announced that they will be covering telehealth visits.
During this pandemic, telehealth will allow us to take care of our patients and keep them at home as much as possible to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Remember, we are here for your eye care needs! Call 760-342-6900 to make an appointment today!