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Why You Shouldn’t Visit the ER for Eye Emergencies During COVID-19

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On April 22, the American Optometric Association (AOA) urged patients with minor emergency eye care needs to get in touch with their local optometrist prior to seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Doing so not only eases the burden on emergency departments but also helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What Is Considered an Eye Emergency?

Most eye-related conditions can be treated in an outpatient optometry office or clinic. Emergency eye care includes, but is not limited to, urgent clinical advice or intervention for minor eye injuries, flashes and floaters (which might suggest a retinal detachment), contact lens discomfort, and red eyes.

Prioritizing Your Eye Care Needs During COVID-19

During the coronavirus outbreak, we have been working hard to ensure that people are receiving the emergency eye care they need.


Patients should first contact Custom Eye Care at The Rim for guidance and potential treatment prior to heading to an overwhelmed hospital emergency room. Dr. Vlasak can assess the level of care the patient needs—whether it's via telehealth or a visit to the eye clinic or, in severe cases, even the emergency room.


This will ensure that patients get prompt treatment while allowing hospitals to conserve their resources for the current pandemic. In fact, research has shown that treating eye emergencies at eye doctors' offices can potentially divert 1.4 million patients away from emergency rooms per year.


While we are seeing routine eye exams by appointment only, Custom Eye Care in San Antonio, TX continues to provide emergency care for those who need it. We'd like to reassure our patients that we are here to help with anyone’s emergency eye care requirements – for both for new and existing patients.