New Normal: Eye doctors implement safety measures amid COVID-19 pandemic


HONOLULU (KHON2) — If you’ve been putting off going to the eye doctor due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may be long over due for a check-up.

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However, because of COVID-19, optometrists like Dr. John Olkowski of EyeSight Hawaii have implemented some big changes.

 “We just want to make sure people are aware that we’re taking every step possible to keep them safe,” Dr. Olkowski stated.

If you have an appointment at EyeSight Hawaii, you find that the safety protocols start even before you arrive.

 “We’ll send you a screening questionnaire before you get to our office, and then on the day of the visit, we’ll have you wait in the car,” Dr. Kristin Hirabayashi of EyeSight Hawaii said.

Once a patient is called into the office, staff at EyeSight Hawaii takes their temperature.

In addition to practically eliminating the waiting room, EyeSight Hawaii got rid of the written check-in system, everything is electronic.

 “We’re only letting patients in the office right now. No friends or family, unless the patient needs assistance,” said Dr. Hirabayashi about their new coronavirus safety protocols.

Dr. Olkowski also installed air filters and sneeze guards in every exam room.

“We typically have to get fairly close to the patients with our machinery, and so now we have big plastic sneeze screens, so that if either of us sneeze, we are well protected,” Dr. Olkowski said about the plastic screens on each machine.

In between each patient, staff also sanitizes all high-touch areas of the exam rooms.

If you need glasses, don’t expect to be able to freely try on dozens of glasses. Each pair you touch, must be properly sanitized.

Dr. Olkowski said part of the reason EyeSight Hawaii is taking so many precautions is to keep his own family safe from the coronavirus.

“It’s fearful times. My wife is an emergency room physician. So she is very, very frontline,” Dr. Olkowski explained, adding that he has two teenagers at home. “So first thing when you get home, the scrubs go right into the washer, nothing else, right into the laundry room, right into the washer, or even right to a plastic bag outside, and then right into the shower.”

For lasik surgery, Dr. Olkowski requires his patients to test negative for COVID-19 and quarantine for the days leading up to surgery day as a precaution.

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