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How to Prepare for Your Tele-Medicine Eye Visit

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

First, thank you for working with us and being patient during this difficult time. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has recommended only urgent and emergent eye problems that could lead to damage or loss of vision be seen in person or undergo procedures during the COVOD-19 crisis. We will all be learning together to manage medical care differently than before this crisis. Please be assured that we are working together with you to protect your eye health. In person visits expose you to the general public, our staff, and us as healthcare providers. All of us, patients and healthcare providers, have some risk of having undetected viral infection that we could pass on. Our patients are mostly the very young and the very old. Elderly patients are at high risk for complications and death from COVID-19 and should reduce their contact with the public in every way possible. The very young are now known to be potential asymptomatic carriers and they may infect health care workers who will then in turn infect the vulnerable elderly population we also take care of. To reduce this risk, we are trying to do as much with tele-medicine as possible.

Before your visit follow these steps:

1) Determine if you will interact with your doctor via Face Time or Zoom. If you have no video capability, we can do limited visits by phone. Please make every effort to have either Face Time or Zoom as we can do a better job with video. Establish the Face Time number you want us to use to reach you or let us know you prefer Zoom and inform us in advance of this. You can email us at at least one business day before your appointment (if we do not have this information we will not be able to contact you). Be available at your appointment time. We should contact you within a 10 minute window before or after your assigned time.

2) Take a few minutes to have your medical and vision history available and jot down some notes: why are you having a visit, what symptoms do you have, how long have you had those symptoms, what other medical problems do you have, what medications are you on, list any allergies you have to medications, products or foods, what other doctors have you seen for this problem, etc. Be sure to include any questions you have.

3) New patients must fill out new patient paperwork prior to their visit and email that information to our office at at least one business day prior to your tele-medicine appointment. Please include a copy of the front and back of your insurance cards and a copy of your identification. New patient paperwork is located on our website here.

4) Visit the AAO website here for instructions to do a home vision test. Please complete this test before your visit. Adults will have no difficulty with this simple test. Young children (age 3-5) will probably need to do the “tumbling E” test. Some children can use their fingers to show which way the legs of the “E” are pointing. Another way to do this is to print two copies, post one on the wall and take the larger “E” on the top line on the second copy and cut the line out and place it on the child’s lap so they can point to the same direction “E” that you are pointing to on the chart. You may need two people to test a young child. Please cover the patient’s eye with the palm of your hand and not fingers, as patients will “peek” through fingers. Also for small children have a couple of small toys available that they may be willing to follow when instructed to do this by the doctor.

5) If you are a new patient, please have a copy of your most recent glasses or contacts lens prescription available so you can give the information to your doctor.

6) Patients with a retinal problem should go here to print an Amsler Grid and self-test prior to their appointment.

7) Chose a place to sit for your tele-medicine visit that does not have a window behind you, poor lighting, or a large amount of glare. Chose an environment without a lot of background noise. You can use a phone, a computer, or a tablet to do your tele-medicine visit.

8) Have the name of a pharmacy you like to use available.

9) Have a pad of paper and pen available to jot down your doctor’s instructions.

Please feel free to email us at with any questions you might have as you prepare for your tele-medicine visit. In an effort to limit risk of exposure to our staff, we have routed all telephone lines to a message center. If necessary, please call (805 781-3937 to leave a message. An on-call staff member will return your call within one business day to assist you.

Thank you for taking the extra time to prepare for your appointment. We look forward to meeting with you and assisting you with any urgent eye care needs. Our patients health and safety are important to us and we will continue to provide you and your family with the same quality eye care we have provided over the past 25 years.

©2020 Rena Stathacopoulos

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