Glaucoma among chronic conditions that don’t slow down due to pandemic

Coronavirus

The damage can’t be undone — glaucoma and a host of other chronic conditions don’t slow down during a pandemic. That’s why regular monitoring is just a car ride away.

Just like a COVID-19 testing site, patients line up and wait — some with a buddy — in their cars.

James Price, a glaucoma patient, said at first when everything shut down, he couldn’t come in into the hospital.

Instead of an office visit, patients like Price now get curbside service at NorthShore University HealthSystem. He has glaucoma – an eye disease that affects millions of people across the country and is the leading cause of preventable blindness. 

“One of the biggest risk factors for glaucoma is eye pressure and it’s not something a patient can feel or sense and so it really needs to be monitored regularly by an ophthalmologist,” Dr Paras Shah, NorthShore University Healthsystem ophthalmologist, said.

For weeks, 69-year-old Price and countless others had to put off the routine checks that help doctors monitor their eye health.

“Typically patients will come to the office one to four times a year depending on how bad the condition is,” Shah said.

The test takes less than a minute. Doctors then follow up with a telemedicine visit to review the results with patients.

“It makes me feel good because that way, I know if anything is going wrong I’d be aware,” Price said.

“We’re able to keep patients safe, keep the risk of viral transmission low but also we get the crucial pieces of info we need to make a decision about their glaucoma,” Shah said.

Price said so far, he has had no issues and he says he has a good doctor, so he’s satisfied with his level of care.

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