Dean McGee Eye Institute’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols
Everyone here at the Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI) cares about your safety, and we understand that you may have some concerns about appointments and/or procedures scheduled with us. We would like to take the time to share what we are doing to protect our patients and caregivers and explain some new policies that we have put in place to address COVID-19.
Here’s What DMEI is Doing to Protect Our Patients
First, we are constantly reviewing information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OU Medicine, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, and other major ophthalmology departments in the United States. This information is updated daily, so we are staying on top of the latest news. With that said, here are precautions that we are taking:
Screening Patients When Scheduling and Checking-In
If you call to make an appointment or arrive for an appointment, you will be asked a series of questions that are meant to establish your risk of having been exposed to COVID-19 or if you might have active symptoms. The questions will concern recent travel, personal exposure, and common symptoms (for example, fever, cough, chills, and other respiratory symptoms). A temperature also will be taken with a forehead thermometer. Based on answers to these questions and/or suggestion of a fever, the appointment may need to be rescheduled.
Patients, visitors, and employees are required to wear a paper surgical, KN95, or N95 mask in DMEI clinical and surgical facilities. Cloth masks, gators, bandanas, and valve masks are not permitted. DMEI will provide patients/visitors with a surgical mask if needed.
Adding Breath Shields to Our Slit Lamps
A slit lamp is a magnifying device commonly used to examine a patient’s eyes but which requires the doctor and patient to be facing each other. The breath shield places a barrier between the doctor and patient while still allowing the eye examination to continue.
Limiting Visitors with Patients
The number of visitors accompanying a DMEI patient in the examination room is limited to two adults. No minor children (for example, siblings of pediatric patients) will be allowed as visitors in an examination room. Depending on the course of COVID-19, more stringent limitations on visits and visitors could become necessary.
Scheduling and Counseling Over the Phone
We are recommending that patients handle some matters over the phone when they can. This can include financial counseling, surgery scheduling, and more. Simply call about your appointment, and we would be happy to guide you.
Following Safety Principles Encouraged by the CDC
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine (go to vaccinate.oklahoma.gov to learn more), we are encouraging everyone to adopt the following safety precautions recommended by the CDC.
Doctors recommend washing your hands many times a day, particularly before and after certain activities. It is one of the quickest, simplest, and best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of disease to others. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth throughout the day.
Practice Social Distancing
When going out in public, stay at least six feet from others when possible. At DMEI, we have removed more than half of the chairs from the main reception areas, placed markers on the floors, and limited the number of elevator passengers to achieve more social distancing.
Stay Home If You Feel Sick
If you are experiencing symptoms, have a fever, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should stay home and consult with your primary care provider.
As a reminder, here is more information about how the virus is spread and the symptoms it can cause.
How Does the Virus Spread?
The virus spreads between people who come in close contact with each other. COVID-19 affects the respiratory system, and is spread through droplets from a cough or sneeze. The droplets can be inhaled directly or land on a surface where they can be touched, facilitating the spread of the virus.
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and sudden loss of smell. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor for medical advice. You can learn more about symptoms and what to do if you are sick with COVID-19 by visiting the CDC website.