Local ophthalmologists return to see patients

ByMartha R. Camara

Apr 23, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – Ophthalmologists and patients are seeing eye to eye again after the pandemic slowed appointments.

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

“A year isn’t a significant margin in cataracts, but in something that’s irreversibly blinding like glaucoma it can be significant. People missed their typical pressure checks or their eye drop medication refills, it there could be an advance in the stage and severity of glaucoma by the time they reach us,” Baartman added.

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

Doctors and patients understand the need for proper eye care, but they always take precautions.

“My right eye, I have a problem with my right eye. I feel fine, I had my two injections because of my age,” said patient Herb Johansen. “I think once we we’ll have our chance, we should be able to do what we want to do, but we can’t.”

Since masks are now mandatory in their offices, they have found another way to ensure their friendly, smiling faces are seen by patients by putting their picture on their name badges.

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

They also revamped their cleaning protocols.

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

They are now 100% back as people who rescheduled appointments and surgeries are coming back.

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

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