O.D. Notebook: Coronavirus: Prevention Tips for O.D.s

By Jennifer Kirby, senior editor
            As we go to press, the deadly coronavirus has infected five individuals in the United States (two in California and one a piece in Arizona, Washington and Illinois), with 73 cases pending. What can optometrists do to protect against the condition, which masquerades as a common cold that develops into lower-respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia?
            “Any time you're dealing with a patient with a potentially infectious virus, doctors of optometry and other health care providers should make sure they have a clear understanding of the proper protocols to prevent the spread of infection,” says AOA President Barbara L. Horn, O.D. “Vigilance and just using good hygiene — thorough handwashing, using gloves, disinfecting equipment and other recommendations, provided by the CDC — in the office when in contact with bodily fluids, such as tears, will go a long way toward preventing infection. It is important to proactively reinforce such infection mitigation techniques with doctors and staff, no matter the size of the office setting.”
            In addition to handwashing (see, the CDC also urges avoiding the touching of one’s eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and close contact with those who are ill.
            Of note: Paul Kellam, a professor of Virus Genomics at Imperial College London, told the Daily Mail that he suggests health care workers wear eye protection, in addition to face masks, as it isn’t uncommon for the flu, among other viruses, to be transmitted to the eye via droplets that come from a sneeze, for example.
            Dr. Horn adds that she encourages all doctors to be aware of potential coronavirus activity in their community or region and that if they live in any of the areas currently affected, they can minimize the risk of exposure by encouraging patients to stay home if they have symptoms of cold, flu or respiratory infections.      
            The Coronavirus originated from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, with, thus far, 4,500 reported cases and 106-related deaths in mainland China. 
  • SportRx, a sports prescription eyewear company, is accepting nominations for its 2020 SportRx  Awards,which recognize eyewear brands for their product design and innovation across performance categories based on optician expertise, sales data, and customer reviews. Visit  
  • SECO has announced that the following organizations will host co-located events during SECO 20/20: Armed Forces Optometric Society, American Association of Corporate Optometrists, American Society of Optometric Surgeons, Ophthalmology Innovation Summit, ECPU: Management Development Program, College of Optometrists in Vision Development, Scleral Lens Education Society (SLS), Society of National Associated Pearle Professionals, Vision Trends and the Young ODs of America. For more information and to register, visit
  • Vision Expo East 2020 is accepting submissions for its third annual OPTImum Retail Award. The Award  honors and celebrates independent boutique retailers, allowing them to showcase their products, stores and vision to the industry. Independent retailers are encouraged to submit their applications by Feb. 7, 2020. Visit
  • Bruder introduced the Bruder Hygenic Eyelid kit (eyelid wipes, a sprayable eyelid solution, a moist heat eye compress and sheets for the compress) for patients who have dry eye disease and blepharitis, those who wear contact lenses and those preparing for ocular surgery. 
  • Eaglet Eye announced two new features for its Eye Surface Profiler (ESP) at this year’s Global Specialty Lens Symposium.* The Scleral Profiler allows quick and easy determination of whether a spherical, toric, quad or full custom scleral is needed and speeds up the ESP fitting process. The second feature allows practitioners to enter an over-refraction for better interaction with their lab of choice, reports the company.
  • Eschenbach Optik introduced a new version of Vario Digital FHD Advanced foldable desktop video magnifier. The product still features a 15.6-inch full HD monitor with an optical digital zoom that magnifies 1.3x - 45x. New features includean external remote, an HDMI-in port (which allows for distance viewing through an optional external camera), dynamic line scrolling on live images and a mirror mode.
  • Safilo Group launchedDB Eyewear by David Beckham which features sunglass and optical frames and will be available in March 2020.  Visit
  • Tangible Science announced that Tangible Boost, an at-home conditioning treatment designed to repair wear on Tangible Hydra-PEG coated lenses, is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2020 through eye care practitioners as a prescription-only product.The polymers in the formula build upon polymers on the coated lens at a microscopic level, filling in gaps from wear and restoring the thickness of the coating, according to the company.
Photo Credit: AdobeStock; freshidea
O.D. Notebook is published weekly on Wednesdays. Unless otherwise noted, the information presented is based on press releases. Find earlier editions here. To submit a press release to be considered for publication, click here