On March 7, 2020, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued guidance for Federal Government employees regarding COVID-19: https://www.chcoc.gov/print/9488 as a Quarantinable Communicable Disease with additional guidance questions and answers (attachment #1).
Dr. Glenn Cockerham, National Program Director for Ophthalmology, has provided information and guidance from the American Academy of Ophthalmology that lists conjunctivitis as a complication with transmission possible through tears (attachment #2).
The American Optometric Association (AOA) has provided this information and guidance for Optometrists with links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
AOA HPI provides information on evolving COVID-19 situation
The AOA’s Health Policy Institute (HPI) is providing additional information relevant to the eye health and vision care community regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), also known as SARS-CoV-2. Every doctor of optometry should understand the risk associated with this outbreak to ensure our continued ability to care for our patients.
Declared both a global and U.S. public health emergency, COVID-19 spread is confirmed in 85 countries outside of China where it first emerged in December 2019. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports nearly 100 confirmed cases in the U.S. and public health officials announced they expect community spread that may lead to “severe” disruptions.
The AOA HPI statement on COVID-19 notes the virus may cause ocular signs and symptoms, and tears may be a potential source of contamination. Doctors are urged to recognize the reported signs and symptoms of COVID-19, reinforce proper infectious control and hand hygiene protocols in their practice, and be alert to developments in their communities.
Additionally, the high secondary attack rate of COVID-19 could make it necessary for social-distancing or other personal and community NPIs that could affect manufacturing and supply chains.
Read the full AOA HPI statement on COVID-19.
John C. Townsend, OD, FAAO