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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Texas optometrists reopen offices, reassure patients they're prepared

Doctors of optometry are resuming regular eye care services with new standards of safe practice from the Texas Optometry Board.

AUSTIN, Texas — Some eye doctors want to reassure patients they're open and prepared to take care of them during the coronavirus pandemic. The Texas Optometry Board recently released new guidelines for doctors to follow. 

"We're kind of the primary care physicians of the eye world, so we help and manage different eye diseases. We can prescribe glasses and contacts. We also help treat urgent visits," said Dr. Eric Hammond, Lakeline Vision Source optometrist. 

Dr. Hammond said they're been working hard to keep people out of emergency rooms by treating urgent eye patients. 

"Especially with COVID and everything going on, I've seen an increase in different eye emergencies. Everyone is spending a lot of time outdoors. They're doing their gardening and all that kind of fun stuff. They're getting tree branches, pokes in the eyes. So, we've seen a lot more abrasions and eye infections," said Hammond.  

But Dr. Hammond said appointments can be made at their offices and patients should know what to expect. 

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"We actually reduced the amount of appointments available, so we've reduced them by about 50%. So there's less bodies in the office at one given time," said Hammond. "Every patient wears a mask. Every doctor or staff member wears a mask as well. We've implemented shield guards in spots that we can so we have plexiglass at the front desk. We've got some in our contact lens area."

Dr. Hammond considers their office one of the safest places to go to and wants to help patients who need it. 

The Texas Optometric Association said it's paying close attention to CDC guidelines for patients and doctors. 

"Our doctors are trained on infection control because we are used to diagnosing and treating a variety of eye infections. We understand how important it is to create a safe environment where Texans can get the services they need and get back to their lives," said Dr. Mario Contaldi, Texas Optometric Association president. "We're open, we're prepared and we're ready to take care of patients in the midst of our new reality."

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