Update to Patient Appointment Procedures:
What will it look like:
1. You should receive a call a day or two prior to your scheduled appointment from our staff to collect your patient history and any co-payments you may have.
WHY? We are working to get you in and out of your appointment as quickly and efficiently as possible.
2. When you arrive for your appointment, we are asking that you call us at (828) 623-0186 and press 0 to check-in. You will be asked to wait in your vehicles and our staff will call to come into the building when they are ready for you.
WHY? We want to avoid over-crowding in our waiting lobbies to keep social distancing standards.
3. Before you enter we will be taking your temperature and asking a series of health screen questions.
WHY? We want to be sure you aren’t experiencing any of the common COVID-19 symptoms.
4. We are also asking that you wear a mask while you’re in our buildings.
WHY? This is for your protection and the protection of our doctors and staff.
Please bear with us through these transitions, we are forever grateful for you and the Asheville community!
If you have a scheduled surgery at our Asheville Eye Surgery Center please click HERE for information on our new processes and procedures
Frequently Asked Patient Questions:
Q: What if I have an appointment and must get dropped off?
A: We have chairs and benches outside where you are welcome to wait. For patients that need to wait inside, we have several chairs that are spaced 6’ apart in our entry lobby where you can wait.
Q: What if I have to use the restroom while waiting for my appointment?
A: You (or anyone you are with) are welcome to come into our offices to use the restroom at any time during your appointment or while you are waiting. We are sanitizing the restrooms on a regular basis.
Q: You are asking us to call and check in for appointments when we arrive, what if I can’t get through to anyone on the phone?
A: Please bear with us as our staff is working hard to answer your call. You may experience a bit of a hold time but hang tight and someone will get to your call and get you checked in!
Q: What do I do if I have a co-pay?
You should receive a phone call prior to your appointment where a member of our staff will be collecting your medical history. At this time, we will collect any co-pay during that phone call. If we need to update your insurance information or collect your payment the day of service, the technician that calls you into the office will ask you stop at the front desk upon entering our office.
Q: What if I am picking up glasses or contacts, or need my glasses adjusted?
A: No appointment is necessary for our optical department. However, there may be a wait time. If you happen to arrive during a busy time, you may be asked to wait in your vehicle until one our opticians become available.
Q: What if I (or someone I am with) need assistance?
A: If you or someone you are with needs assistance, you are welcome to be accompanied, but we are asking that any non-essential persons wait outside or in a vehicle. Please note, this differs at our Retinal locations (Our retinal office requests that only the patient come into the office).
Q: What if I am waiting in my vehicle and never receive a phone call to come in for my appointment?
A: We typically ask for a 20 minute grace period, however if you are waiting any longer than 20 minutes past your appointment time, please come to the entrance (or into the office) and ask a member of our staff for an update.
Here at Asheville Eye Associates we also want to provide our patients with the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Coronavirus can spread through the eyes
Coronavirus causes mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath can show up 2 to 14 days after a person is exposed. People with severe infections can develop pneumonia and die from complications of the illness.
Limiting eye exposure can help. Here’s why:
- When a sick person coughs or talks, virus particles can spray from their mouth or nose into another person’s face. You’re most likely to inhale these droplets through your mouth or nose, but they can also enter through your eyes.
- You can also become infected by touching something that has the virus on it — like a table or doorknob — and then touching your eyes.
Call your ophthalmologist for guidance in the following situations:
- You notice changes in your vision (like blurry, wavy or blank spots in your field of vision);
- You notice a lot of new floaters or flashes in your vision;
- You suddenly lose some vision;
- You have eye pain, headache, red eye, nausea and vomiting.
Expect changes to eye exams and procedures:
- You may be asked to wait outside, or in your car, instead of in the normal waiting room. This is to protect you, the other patients, and the office staff from possible virus exposure in crowded waiting areas.
- We are restricting the number of people that enter. If you do not need someone to be there with you, please do not bring anyone to your appointment.
- Your doctor may use a special plastic breath shield on the slit lamp machine they use to look into your eyes. They may also wear a mask with a plastic shield over their eyes.
- Your doctor may ask you to wait to speak until after your eye exam is complete. Then they can talk with you and answer questions when they can be a safe distance from you.
Eye doctors recommend the following precautions:
- If you have a cough or a fever, or have been in close contact with someone who has these symptoms, you must call your doctor’s office ahead of time and let them know. If your visit is not an emergency, you may need to stay home.
- If you arrive sick, your doctor may ask you to wear a protective covering or mask, and to wait in a special room away from other patients.
- If you need to cough or sneeze during your exam, move back from the microscope. Bury your face in the crook of your arm or cover your face with a tissue. Wash your hands with soap and water right away.
How to help yourself and others:
“It’s important to remember that although there is a lot of concern about coronavirus, common sense precautions can significantly reduce your risk of getting infected. So wash your hands a lot, follow good contact lens hygiene and avoid touching or rubbing your nose, mouth and especially your eyes,” says ophthalmologist Sonal Tuli, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
1. If you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses for a while.
Contact lens wearers touch their eyes more than the average person. “Consider wearing glasses more often, especially if you tend to touch your eyes a lot when your contacts are in. Substituting glasses for lenses can decrease irritation and force you to pause before touching your eye,” Dr. Tuli advises. If you continue wearing contact lenses, follow these hygiene tips to limit your chances of infection.
2. Wearing glasses may add a layer of protection.
Corrective lenses or sunglasses can shield your eyes from infected respiratory droplets. But they don’t provide 100% security. The virus can still reach your eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms of your glasses. If you’re caring for a sick patient or potentially exposed person, safety goggles may offer a stronger defense.
3. Stock up on eye medicine prescriptions if you can.
Experts advise patients to stock up on critical medications, so that you’ll have enough to get by if you are quarantined or if supplies become limited during an outbreak. But this may not be possible for everyone. If your insurance allows you to get more than 1 month of essential eye medicine, such as glaucoma drops, you should do so. Some insurers will approve a 3-month supply of medication in times of natural disaster. Ask your pharmacist or ophthalmologist for help if you have trouble getting approval from your insurance company. And as always, request a refill as soon as you’re due. Don’t wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy.
4. Avoid rubbing your eyes.
We all do it. While it can be hard to break this natural habit, doing so will lower your risk of infection. If you feel an urge to itch or rub your eye or even to adjust your glasses, use a tissue instead of your fingers. Dry eyes can lead to more rubbing, so consider adding moisturizing drops to your eye routine. If you must touch your eyes for any reason — even to administer eye medicine — wash your hands first with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Then wash them again afterwards.
5. Practice safe hygiene and social distancing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer these general guidelines to slow the spread of disease:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- You should especially wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom, sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
- If you can’t get to a sink, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face — particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- If you cough or sneeze, cover your face with your elbow or a tissue. If you use a tissue, throw it away promptly. Then go wash your hands.
- Avoid close contact with sick people. If you think someone has a respiratory infection, it’s safest to stay 6 feet away.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Regularly disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items in your house, such as doorknobs and counter tops