Seattle Office

2501 N. 45th Street

Seattle, WA 98103

(206) 526-5222

(206) 675-1460

Bellevue Office

12402 SE 38th St

Suite 203

Bellevue, WA 98006

(425) 454-0200

(425) 454-2345

FAQ About COVID-19 & Eye Care

Are we open for routine care?

Yes, we are open for routine care effective May 18th in accordance with the Department of Health. As eye care doctors,  we are considered "Essential" and Part of Phase 1 of Governor Jay Inslee's Safe Start. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have strongly advised that doctors of optometry postpone all non-urgent care. However, at Puget Sound Eye Care we realize essential eye health and vision care may be necessary to avoid trips to the emergency room and to maintain visual function. Please call our office if you have any questions about whether a visit to our clinic is essential. 

Are there precautions in place if I do have to have an in-person visit?

If you do require an in-person visit, we are ensuring that all fully appropriate care preparation guidelines and requirements are strictly observed, including following the CDC Guidance for healthcare facilities. Please refer to our COVID-19 response page for more details about how we are keeping our patients and employees safe. If you have a special request to maintain your personal safety while in our office, please notify us before your appointment so we have adequate time to prepare. 

Can I receive virtual care while routine, in-person procedures are temporarily suspended?

During the current public health emergency, we are providing telehealth services for a variety of conditions including conjunctivitis, eye discomfort, dry eye and other issues. Telehealth services can provide flexibility and an easy way for patients to remain safe while reducing community spread of COVID-19. Please call us to see if your medical eye concern is eligible for a telehealth visit with one of our doctors. You may also request a telehealth visit by logging into your online patient portal.

What should I do if there's an eye-related emergency? Should I go directly to the hospital emergency room?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rapidly evolve and place unprecedented strain on the U.S. healthcare system, patients with urgent or emergency eye care needs are urged to consult their local doctor of optometry before seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms. If you have an eye related emergency, please call one of our offices first before going to an emergency care center. If you have an emergency after hours, our on-call doctor can be reached at (206) 526-5222.

Is it safe to wear contact lenses during the coronavirus pandemic?

According to the CDC, there is currently no evidence to suggest contact lens wearers are more at risk for acquiring COVID-19 than eyeglass wearers. People who are healthy can continue to wear and care for their contact lenses as prescribed by their eye care professional. In addition, contact lenses wear may actually be preferred while wearing a mask to avoid glasses fogging. The AOA recommends the following tips to help ensure proper wear and care for contact lenses:

  • Always practice good hygiene when handling lenses. It has been noted that contact lens wearers touch their faces and eyes when inserting and removing lenses. Touching your face and eyes can spread germs
  • Exercise proper hand washing. When using contact lenses or spectacles, one should wash their hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds, followed by hand drying with unused paper towels. This should occur before every contact lens insertion and removal. People should avoid touching their face, including their eyes, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands
  • Disinfect contact lenses. Contact lens wearers should either dispose of their daily disposable lenses each evening, or regularly disinfect non-disposable lenses according to instructions from the manufacturer and one's doctor of optometry
  • Discontinue lens wear if sick. Consistent with recommendations for other types of illness, those who feel ill with cold or flu-like symptoms should cease contact lens wear

How does coronavirus spread?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a novel (new) disease meaning there is no immunity to COVID-19. Health and medical experts are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes and to what extent it may continue to spread in the United States. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. According to the CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person, particularly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). It can also spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects that have the virus on it by touching the surface and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

How can I limit my exposure? 

  • Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after being in public spaces
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and face with unwashed hands 
  • Maintain a social distancing space between you and others of at least 6 feet 
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth face covering when around others
  • Cover Coughs and sneezes 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily 

Can wearing glasses help protect my eyes from exposure?

Standard glasses have not been proven to offer protection against COVID-19 or other viral transmissions. Safety glasses offer front and side protection and safety goggles offer splash protection that are helpful to protect against COVID-19.

Is conjunctivitis (pink eye) a symptom of coronavirus?

Conjunctivitis can be a sign of COVID-19. Additionally, COVID-19 may also present with other ocular signs and symptoms such as extreme light sensitivity, irritation and watery discharge. These are self-limiting but may require supportive care. If you have persistent red eyes, contact your local doctor of optometry's office for accurate eye health guidance.

Can the virus be spread through tears?

There is conflicting information regarding the expression of the virus in tears. However, it is clear in multiple medical reports from the epicenter of the breakout in Wuhan (Hubei Province), China where the virus originated, that in addition to the respiratory transmission potential, COVID-19 can be found in the tears and conjunctiva of patients that are positive for the virus with or without obvious conjunctivitis. In addition, it was reported while there is a low prevalence of COVID-19 in tears, it is possible to transmit via the tears.

Adapted from