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Novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): The importance of recognising possible early ocular manifestation and using protective eyewear
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  • Published on:
    Going viral: mitigating risk in ophthalmology
    • Niku Dhillon, ST1 Ophthalmology NHS Grampian
    • Other Contributors:
      • Baljean Dhillon, Consultant Ophthalmology

    We read with interest the BMJ Editorial Novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): The importance of recognising possible early ocular manifestation and using protective eyewear1. This highlights the need for risk mitigation in the context of commonplace eye examinations using the slit-lamp biomicroscope and direct ophthalmoscope, both requiring very close proximity manoeuvres within a few centimetres of the patients’ eye, nose and mouth. Droplet spread during eye examination likely increases during these prolonged direct examination techniques. Those at most risk are trainees working in accident and emergency, opticians or acute care settings who are required to see patients presenting with “red eye” for which conjunctivitis is a common cause.

    Patients with conjunctivitis can be safely manged by the non-specialist using simple observation and history enquiry2 supplemented by a phone captured image. Remote-site consultation allows further discussion allowing an eye image and clinical details to be scrutinised without the requirement for on-site attendance. Currently, clinicians use mobile phone consultations to supplement and enhance care provision and it would seem prudent to adopt this more widely to minimise risk of Covid-19 transmission which might be acquired through public transport travel, waiting room exposure or face to face consultation. Notwithstanding confidentiality issues of commonly used freeware with private image messaging capabilities e.g Whatsap...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.