I recently attended the annual conference of the Georgia Optometric Association (GOA). It was great to see my fellow GOA members again, and it was equally great to dovetail the event with a family beach trip. Let’s just say we needed it.
One of the courses at the conference addressed COVID-19 protocol in the optometric setting. Here in Georgia, as I would assume is the case in other states, a business must have a sign clearly displayed at all entrances that is effectively a disclaimer stating that one assumes the risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus by entering the premises. The law in Georgia is very clear, even down to the font and minimum text size in which the words must be printed. The lecturer said it is of the utmost importance to have the sign visible on all accessible entrances of your place of work. I applaud the efforts of those trying to protect businesses and their owners, so I don’t mind leaving mine up for however long is deemed necessary.
Ongoing COVID-19 protection
What I do wonder on a daily basis is for how long it will be recommended that ODs practice while wearing masks. The short answer is, of course, no one really knows. I do not believe that masks in the primary eye care setting are going to be a permanent fixture.
What I know will be a permanent fixture in my examination rooms are the slit lamp shields we have in place. The barriers make too much sense for public health and olfactory protection—they shield you from that first patient after lunch who had a sandwich with extra onions.
I foresee staying power with some COVID-19 augmentations, and I am glad the continued cessation of in-person conferences is not one of them. The lecture circuit is opening back up on a grander scale in 2021, and I am excited to see more of my optometry friends out on it later this year and in early 2022.
One year ago, I was attending the GOA virtual annual conference. The emcee of the closing ceremony, Bob McCullough, OD, was telling his usual jokes to us over the internet. This year, his jokes were equally terrible in person, and I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. You had to be there.