JOURNAL ARTICLE

Stepping up infection control measures in ophthalmology during the novel coronavirus outbreak: an experience from Hong Kong

Tracy H T Lai, Emily W H Tang, Sandy K Y Chau, Kitty S C Fung, Kenneth K W Li
Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology 2020, 258 (5): 1049-1055
32124000

PURPOSE: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has rapidly emerged as a global health threat. The purpose of this article is to share our local experience of stepping up infection control measures in ophthalmology to minimise COVID-19 infection of both healthcare workers and patients.

METHODS: Infection control measures implemented in our ophthalmology clinic are discussed. The measures are based on detailed risk assessment by both local ophthalmologists and infection control experts.

RESULTS: A three-level hierarchy of control measures was adopted. First, for administrative control, in order to lower patient attendance, text messages with an enquiry phone number were sent to patients to reschedule appointments or arrange drug refill. In order to minimise cross-infection of COVID-19, a triage system was set up to identify patients with fever, respiratory symptoms, acute conjunctivitis or recent travel to outbreak areas and to encourage these individuals to postpone their appointments for at least 14 days. Micro-aerosol generating procedures, such as non-contact tonometry and operations under general anaesthesia were avoided. Nasal endoscopy was avoided as it may provoke sneezing and cause generation of droplets. All elective clinical services were suspended. Infection control training was provided to all clinical staff. Second, for environmental control, to reduce droplet transmission of COVID-19, installation of protective shields on slit lamps, frequent disinfection of equipment, and provision of eye protection to staff were implemented. All staff were advised to measure their own body temperatures before work and promptly report any symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, vomiting or diarrhoea. Third, universal masking, hand hygiene, and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) were promoted.

CONCLUSION: We hope our initial experience in stepping up infection control measures for COVID-19 infection in ophthalmology can help ophthalmologists globally to prepare for the potential community outbreak or pandemic. In order to minimise transmission of COVID-19, ophthalmologists should work closely with local infection control teams to implement infection control measures that are appropriate for their own clinical settings.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
32124000
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"