(DENVER, Colo.) — NEWS: Doctors of optometry across Colorado, 2020 Eyes Colorado, and the Colorado Optometric Association (COA) have launched an October awareness initiative to educate Coloradans on Eye Emergencies: Where to Go and What to Do. This health information is currently important for Colorado communities and populations vulnerable to COVID-19 as the state approaches a possible surge in COVID-19 cases during winter.
The HPI analysis of Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) data shows that eye emergencies make up 1% of emergency room cases and of those reported cases 98.9% could have been handled by a local optometrist in clinic or via telehealth (*note 1). Many practices offer after hours care to address eye care emergencies making it even easier for patients to avoid emergency rooms.
COA Board President, Dr. Tom Cruse says, “During the March/April shutdown our doctors of optometry were able to stop most eye emergency cases from going to urgent care and emergency facilities, which clearly assisted in slowing the virus spread and reducing individual exposure. As usual, optometrists still have the ability to treat emergency eye cases and we want every Coloradan to know how to use our emergency services for their own health and safety.”
The CDC National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) reported that overall emergency room visits declined 42% early in the pandemic, but the viral infection cases quadrupled making emergency facilities a potential risk for many Coloradans including populations that are more vulnerable to a viral infection (*note 2). Optometry’s vulnerable patient population is impacted by diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, which are known to complicate COVID-19 cases (*note 3).
The October public health initiative is taking place on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #2020EyesColorado and at 2020EyesColorado.org. Colorado optometry practices across the state have also geared up to join the initiative on social media to help spread the word in their own communities.
To learn more about what to do in an eye emergency, read the newly released 2020 Eyes Colorado article Eye Emergencies: Where to Go and What to Do! – 2020eyescolorado.org/eye-emergencies-pr/
You will learn:
* Symptoms that need immediate attention from an optometrist
* Symptoms that need an eye exam soon
* Emergencies an eye doctor can treat and what to do at home
* How to find an optometrist
About the Colorado Optometric Association (COA):
The Colorado Optometric Association (COA) is the professional organization of optometrists in Colorado. Over 600 Colorado Doctors of Optometry are voluntary members of the Association. COA has also launched a public health campaign called 2020 Eyes Colorado.
Since 1892, the COA has assisted its members in providing the highest standard of professional care to their patients by sponsoring continuing education programs for doctors, advocating in local and state governments for programs and laws that represent patients’ best interests, and providing information for the public. For more information, please visit www.visioncare.org/ or call 303-863-9778.
*Note 1: www.aoa.org/documents/HPI/HCUP%20HPI%20December_2019.pdf
*Note 2: www.cdc.gov/nssp/index.html
*Note 3: www.aoa.org/AOA/Documents/Advocacy/HPI/Emergency%20Department%20Diversion%20Brief.pdf
Related link: colorado.aoa.org/
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