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Local eye doctors back to seeing patients

Posted at 11:39 AM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 12:39:56-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Eye doctors and patients are once again seeing eye-to-eye after the pandemic slowed down appointments.

“When the pandemic hit, everything came to a screeching halt. No one was sure how the virus spread and what was safe and what wasn’t. We had to shut down and stop doing surgeries completely,” said Brandon Baartman, an ophthalmologist at Vance Thompson Eye Care Center.

“A year is not a significant margin in cataracts but in something that is irreversibly blinding like glaucoma it can be important. People have missed their typical pressure checks or refill on eye drop medications there could be an advance in the glaucoma stage and severity by the time they get to us,” added Baartman.

But now they are seeing patients again and are excited about waiting rooms with people actually sitting in the socially distanced seats.

Both doctors and patients understand the need for proper eye care but they're still taking precautions.

“My right eye, I got a problem with my right eye. I feel good, I had both my shots because of my age,” said patient Herb Johansen. “I think once we get our shot we should be able to do what we want to do but we can’t."

Since masks are now required at their offices, they found another way to make sure their friendly and smiling faces get seen by patients by putting their picture on their name badges.

To reduce the number of contacts, they have also installed electronic temperature monitors.

They also revamped their cleaning protocols.

“We spent weeks talking with companies, asking what is the safest way to disinfect this machine. We bought UV sterilization wands and different cleaning products that were specific to target the SARS-COVID,” said Baartman.

They are now back in business 100% as people who put off appointments and surgeries are heading back in.

Proper eye care is so important because about 80% of what we perceive comes through our sense of sight.

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