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(03) 5975 9999

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Ita’s plea to older Australians: Don’t let Coronavirus fears steal your vision

Australian icon Ita Buttrose has issued a passionate plea to senior Australians in a bid to avoid thousands of people going unnecessarily blind during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today, I have an important message for our older and more vulnerable Australians living with macular disease, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia,” Ms Buttrose said.

“I’m concerned many people who need urgent, sight-saving eye injections for diseases like wet (neovascular) AMD and diabetic macular edema are not keeping their appointments with their ophthalmologists because of fear and confusion around public health protocols.

“Missing an eye injection can seriously and permanently compromise your vision. You must not miss your sightsaving treatment.

“Many of you will know that I have been Patron of Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) for 15 years,” Ms Buttrose said. “Each May, during MDFA’s Macula Month, I advocate for Australians over the age of 50 to see an optometrist for an eye examination, including a check of the macula.

“In a COVID-19 environment, our call to action is even more vital if we are to avoid thousands of people going unnecessarily blind on the other side of this pandemic,” Ms Buttrose warned.

“If you require injections for wet (neovascular) AMD or diabetic macular edema, or other macular conditions, it is essential that you attend your specialist appointment or discuss your treatment options with your ophthalmologist.

“Similarly, if you notice any sudden changes in your vision, or experience eye pain – even if you don’t have a diagnosed eye condition – it could be an eye emergency. It is vitally important that you contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible. “Let’s make sure we all see each other on the other side of COVID-19,” Ms Buttrose said.

Ms Buttrose’s plea follows reports from ophthalmologists around Australia of a dramatic increase in the number of patients cancelling essential eye appointments. This is despite reassurances from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) that eye injections are an essential treatment and therefore exempt from Australian Government ‘stay at home’ regulations.

“I understand that some people might be concerned about leaving their homes to get treatments,” Ms Buttrose said, “but I can assure everyone that clinics are sterile environments and stringent clinical guidelines have been put in place to ensure people’s safety.

“Whether you’re at home or living in aged care, these eye injections are vitally important to preserving sight.

National Helpline: 1800 111 709 www.mdfoundation.com.au

“Many of you have lived through times of hardship, through wars, depressions, and times of national insecurity and anxiety. Once again, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves in an unexpected time of uncertainty, where clarity of communication and correct information is paramount.

“I want to stress if you have a scheduled eye injection, if you are a family carer or someone who needs to take a person to a scheduled eye injection, and you have not been in contact with COVID-19, you are not breaching public health measures to attend that appointment. Obviously, if you are unwell, please phone first for advice.

“I understand people are apprehensive but keeping your sight must be your priority. Ring and speak with your ophthalmologist or the receptionist. You can also call MDFA’s National Helpline, 1800 111 709 for free telephone advice and a free Amsler grid, a useful tool for monitoring vision changes at home,” Ms Buttrose said.

Latest COVID-19 Update from Peninsula Eye Centre

Current at 4th May 2020

At Peninsula Eye Centre, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely and will continue to act under the guidelines from the Australian health authorities and RANZCO.

Accordingly, at this time, Peninsula Eye Centre REMAINS OPEN and continuing to provide essential eye care services to our community.

After a temporary ban on elective eye surgery, including cataract surgery from 1st April, the National Cabinet recently announced that eye surgery is permitted to resume from Monday 27th April.

For our patients and referring doctors and optometrists, this means that patients requiring eye assessment for cataract surgery and other eye conditions, can continue to be seen at our clinic as usual and those on wait lists for cataract surgery will be contacted in the coming days.

During this time, it is important for patients to continue with their routine medical appointments and ongoing treatment and not to neglect seeking medical care, particularly those patients with chronic eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes.  It is safe and appropriate to leave home for medical care.  Our doctors are also consulting by phone via telehealth, where possible.

At Peninsula Eye Centre, we are committed to keeping our patients and team members safe during this time.  Over the last few weeks, we have implemented the following precautions at our clinic to prevent the spread of the virus:

Increased Infection Control Procedures

In addition to our regular high standard of infection control and sterilisation, we have implemented the following:

  • Increased sanitation of hard surfaces in highly trafficked areas such as reception, waiting areas, clinical and consulting rooms
  • All clinical and consulting rooms are sanitised after every patient
  • Patient seating in the waiting areas has been spread out
  • Protective screens installed at reception
  • Slit lamp shields installed
  • Additional hand sanitisers are available to be used in waiting area, reception, clinical and consulting rooms
  • Removal of magazines & books
  • Removal of coffee and tea cups and replaced with single use, disposable cups

Team Members’ Health & Safety

  • Team members must stay home if they are showing any signs of illness, even if mild, and will not return to work until it is deemed safe to do so by their doctor.
  • All team members are having their temperature measured at the forehead upon entering the workplace.

Limiting Traffic Inside the Clinic 

  • We advise that only scheduled patients will be allowed into the consulting rooms and clinical areas and ask that support people (unless required for interpretation or mobility assistance) and family members don’t enter the clinic unnecessarily.  We are happy to phone a support person to return to pick up the patient, if needed, at the conclusion of the appointment.
  • At certain times, patients may be asked to wait in their cars instead of the waiting areas.  We will call patients by phone to let them know when it is their turn to be seen.

Screening Patients 

As has been the case since the start of the outbreak, we request that anybody who:

  • has been overseas recently, or
  • has been in contact with anybody who is ill, or
  • shows any of the known symptoms of:
    • fever
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
    • sore throat

refrains from visiting the clinic for 14 days and to call to reschedule your appointment.

In addition:

  • We are calling patients one day prior to their appointment and asking the above questions.
  • All patients are now asked to sign a declaration form upon entering our clinic to confirm the above points, prior to being seated.
  • All patients are required to have their temperature measured at the forehead by staff as a condition of their appointment.

We appreciate your full cooperation in this matter and thank you for continuing to help us maintain a safe and healthy environment.

More Information 

For information on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), call the Australian Government’s National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

Special Announcement Regarding Telehealth

At Peninsula Eye Centre we are continuing to provide essential eye care services to our community.   It is important for patients, particularly those with urgent eye conditions and ongoing treatments, to continue with their regular eye care needs.  Our doctors are still available for consultations via phone, video conference or face to face.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 the Australian government has introduced Telehealth.  Your doctor at Peninsula Eye Centre will consult with you in the usual manner via a telephone or video link (medicare rebates applicable as usual).  In some instances, you may be required to attend the clinic,  but your doctor will advise you of this.

To make an appointment please call us on (03) 5975 9999 to speak to one of our friendly receptionists.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update from Peninsula Eye Centre

Current at 02.04.20

At this time, Peninsula Eye Centre REMAINS OPEN and continues to provide essential eye care services to our community.  Please note however, as announced by the Australian Prime Minister on 25th March, elective surgery in both public and private settings must cease from 1 April, except for urgent cases.  For our patients this means all non-urgent eye surgeries, including cataract surgeries, will temporarily cease from 1 April until further notice.  Patients requiring eye assessments for future cataract surgery can continue to be seen at our clinic at this stage.

At Peninsula Eye Centre, we take the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak very seriously and are taking additional protective measures to ensure the health and safety of our patients, team members and the wider community.  We are monitoring the situation very closely and will continue to act under the guidelines from the Australian health authorities and RANZCO.

We have implemented the following precautions to prevent the spread of the virus:

Increased Infection Control Procedures

In addition to our regular high standard of infection control & sterilisation, we have implemented the following:

  • Increased sanitation of hard surfaces in highly trafficked areas such as reception, waiting areas, clinical and consulting rooms
  • All clinical and consulting rooms are sanitised after every patient
  • Patient seating in the waiting areas has been spread out
  • Protective screens installed at reception
  • Slit lamp shields installed
  • Additional hand sanitisers are available to be used in waiting area, reception, clinical and consulting rooms
  • Removal of magazines & books
  • Removal of coffee and tea cups and replaced with single use, disposable cups

Team Members’ Health & Safety

  • Team members must stay home if they are showing any signs of illness, even if mild, and will not return to work until it is deemed safe to do so by their doctor.
  • All team members are having their temperature measured at the forehead upon entering the workplace.

Limiting Traffic Inside the Clinic 

  • We advise that only scheduled patients will be allowed into the consulting rooms and clinical areas and ask that support people (unless required for interpretation or mobility assistance) and family members don’t enter the clinic unnecessarily.  We are happy to phone a support person to return to pick up the patient, if needed, at the conclusion of the appointment.
  • At certain times, patients may be asked to wait in their cars instead of the waiting areas.  We will call patients by phone to let them know when it is their turn to be seen.

Screening Patients 

As has been the case since the start of the outbreak, we request that anybody who:

  • has been overseas recently, or
  • has been in contact with anybody who is ill, or
  • shows any of the known symptoms of:
    • fever
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
    • sore throat

refrains from visiting the clinic for 14 days and to call to reschedule your appointment.

We are calling patients one day prior to their appointment and asking the above questions.  In addition, all patients are now asked to sign a declaration form upon entering our clinic to confirm the above points, prior to being seated.  Also, all patients are required to have their temperature measured at the forehead by staff as a condition of their appointment.

We appreciate your full cooperation in this matter and thank you for continuing to help us maintain a safe and healthy environment.

More Information 

For information on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), call the Australian Government’s National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Supporting Our Community Through The Arts

Peninsula Eye Centre is proud to be a major sponsor of this year’s Mornington Art Show (16-26 January 2020), presented by the Mornington Rotary Club.  The Mornington Art Show, now in its 48th year, is exhibiting over 850 artworks by artists from the local community and around Australia and is the second largest art show in Victoria.

The Gala Opening Night, held on 16th January, was a wonderful event attended by over 400 guests who enjoyed the many artworks on display, including paintings and photographs available for sale and viewing.  The silent auction dedicated to ‘Bushfire Relief’ raised over $8,000.

At Peninsula Eye Centre, we feature several paintings purchased at the Mornington Art Show over the years.  We are pleased to continue to support the Mornington Rotary Club which provides important services to our local and broader community.

For more information about The Mornington Art Show, please go to:  www.morningtonartshow.com.au