To support the safe reopening of care, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), and the Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society (OOSS), developed a checklist that details specifically how to approach and manage some of the key decisions in reopening more normal practice in the COVID-19 era.
The three organizations jointly issued a statement supporting the lifting of restrictions on the furnishing of elective non-urgent surgeries as highlighted in the recently published “White House Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.“ This week will mark the reopening in several states of ASCs that have been temporarily closed for elective surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The weeks and months ahead will be challenging times for ophthalmic ASCs as we reopen our centers. The ophthalmology community has developed a Checklist for Reopening Ophthalmic ASCs that we hope will be helpful in ensuring a safe and successful return to business. Obviously, ASCs should reopen only if the safety of patients, staff, and the community can be assured,” the statement read.
“With respect to COVID-19 testing, facilities should adhere to state and local guidance. For cases at low risk for aerosolizing bodily fluids and performed under monitored anesthesia/conscious sedation, such as cataract surgery, routine preoperative RT-PCR testing should not be mandatory. However, this may be considered for patients with risk factors on an individual basis,” according to the AAO.
The eye care organizations suggestions are guided by: compliance with the requirements of state and local authorities; patient and staff screening and monitoring; use of PPE following CDC recommendations; augmented disinfection; and appropriate social distancing within the facility for patients and visitors.
The full Ophthalmic ASC Reopening Checklist can be found here.