Coronavirus Updates

Contact lens wearers may be able to get refills without current prescription during COVID-19 limitations


CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) Eye doctors across the region are still seeing patients but only those with emergency needs. That does not include routine exams.

If you wear contacts you know getting a refill generally requires a current prescription. According to the Food and Drug Administration you should have an eye exam annually to get contacts.

“Caring for patients through this process we have seen there are some considerations that we have to take into account, one of those is our patients with contact lens wear,” explained Bill Ratcliff, president of the West Virginia Board of Optometry.

But if you weren’t able to get a new exam before the COVID-19 protocols went into place, most eye doctors are willing to relax the standards temporarily.

“Probably one of the main reasons for extending that contact lens prescription for refills is that we see that a large percentage of the patients that we have come in each week with issues with contact lenses it is related to the age of the contact lenses,” Ratcliff said. “So to have patients out there trying to get them to last longer creates more risk at this point than allowing them to get more contact lenses without having been seen.”

At Ramsey EyeCare and many offices across the area they are doing everything they can to minimize face to face interactions with patients.

“We are shipping contact lenses by mail directly from the manufacturer to the patient,” said Dr. Walter S. Ramsey, Ramsey EyeCare.

The staff in his office is thinking outside of the box to keep patients and employees safe. They are turning to technology to treat patients for a variety of issues.

“We are having people use their cell phones to take pictures of their eyes and we are calling prescriptions in so patients won’t have to come in to the office. We are doing everything we possibly can to eliminate the necessity of an office visit,” Ramsey said.

If you do end up needing to go to your eye doctor for an emergency you will notice some significant differences. To learn more click here.

You can also read more from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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