COVID-19 has spread to 150 countries worldwide since it was first discovered in China in December 2019. A total of 422,989 cases have been confirmed as of March 25, 2020. As the severity of the epidemic increases, various countries globally have imposed controls on the movement of people, including Italy, France, and the United States. They call on everyone to stay home, students to suspend classes, and employees to work from home.
It is proven that older people and people with chronic underlying diseases are more susceptible to COVID-19. Since a large proportion of visually impaired people experienced low vision due to age (e.g. AMD) or other disease (e.g. diabetic retinopathy), some people with low vision are probably at higher risk. It’s important to keep healthy during this special time. For people who are visually impaired, special care is needed due to special eye conditions.
With this in mind, Zoomax would like to share some tips to assist visually impaired people with taking better care during the COVID-19 outbreak. Together, we can continue being healthy and safe under changeable circumstances, even with low vision.
Prepare for staying home
If restrictions on movement are implemented in your area, or work/school suspension begins, you will likely stay at home for a while. If your spouse, children, or low vision care provider can’t reach you, you need to think about how to reserve enough food, work remotely, and ensure safety during this time.
If you are a student, please pay attention to COVID-19 update. Below are two notifications about the school plan during the pandemic.
Take care of your eyes
Please note, being a respiratory disease does not mean that COVID-19 will be transmitted through respiratory tract only. It’s easy to ignore that the virus can be transmitted through eyes. COVID-19 guidelines for professional ophthalmologists include a reminder about conjunctivitis, as some COVID-19 cases transmitted through the eyes performed very similar to conjunctivitis in the early stage.
- What Eyecare Providers Need to Know about Coronavirus
- Alert: Important coronavirus updates for ophthalmologists
Care for the Elderly
Seniors make up the largest percentage of people with low vision, since many eye diseases causing low vision, such as cataracts and AMD, are more likely to appear with age. COVID-19 also has a higher fatality rate in older people. If you or a member of your family is an aged person with low vision, please be careful. Here is some useful information.
- How to protect older people from coronavirus
- Stores designate shopping time for seniors vulnerable amid coronavirus: Safeway, Whole Foods, Target and more
In terms of health care indoors, it’s vital to clean the surfaces touched often as the visually impaired people feel the surrounding through touching often. Alcohol and bleach-based disinfectants are commonly used by Optometrists and Ophthalmologists to disinfect the instruments and office furniture. Below is a list of recommended disinfectants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Some bleach-based disinfectants may fade clothing and leather furniture. If you are concerned that your eye condition won’t work well enough to keep things away from contamination during cleaning, focus instead on plastics, metal and other surface or touchpoints first. Keep them away from sofas and beds when cleaning.
- Many common household cleaning products can kill the coronavirus if you use them properly
- Exposing eyes to bleach chemical may cause serious ocular damage
Pay attention to the notice
Look out for the notices from your low vision community service. These notices usually contain useful information, such as closure time, dos and don’ts if you need to visit, and how to contact them. Some agencies also give advice on how to get help for visually impaired people with flu symptoms or confirmed diagnosis. Some institution notices are as follows:
Enjoy indoor life
When there is no lockdown or quarantine, staying home is also a great protection for the health. But people are easily bored at home for a long time, no matter whether you have a vision condition or not. There are many things you can do to make your indoor life rich and fun!
- Yes, Staying at Home Really Makes You Safer During COVID-19 (Infographic)
- Are you Ready for a Switch?
- The Wiener Staatsoper is closed, but continues to play daily online
Lots of low vision aids providers also have a series of tools to improve visual independence at home. You can shop online and choose the right products. Some manufacturers offer a 30-day money back guarantee to ensure a better purchase experience.
Zoomax will fight against COVID-19 together with low vision communities as we go along. Please follow our Facebook and other social medias for more anti-epidemic tips on COVID-19.