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Subspecialties COVID-19, Practice Management

The Trouble with Triage

In light of COVID-19’s threat to healthcare professionals, it is now common for clinics to screen patients before they enter the clinic – but how effective is triage when many carry the virus asymptomatically? Researchers at the İzmir Tepecik Training and Research Hospital, Turkey, decided to find out by studying an examination room visited by patients who had passed triage.

Samples were taken from five circular zones within a one-meter diameter of the patient – including slit lamp breath shield, phoropter surfaces, tonometer and door handles – and analyzed for viral material. The bad news? SARS-CoV-2 was found in two of seven post-examination samples. The (potentially) good news? The study could only detect viral material – not infectivity, virulence, viability, or viral load. Further research is needed to assess the potential infection risk of asymptomatic patients during routine eye exams.

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  1. H Aytoğan et al., “Detection of coronavirus disease 2019 viral material on environmental surfaces of an ophthalmology examination room,” JAMA Ophthalmol [Epub ahead of print] (2020). PMID: 32761201.
About the Author
Phoebe Harkin

Associate Editor of The Ophthalmologist

I’ve always loved telling stories. So much so, I decided to make a job of it. I finished a Masters in Magazine Journalism and spent three years working as a creative copywriter before itchy feet sent me (back)packing. It took seven months and 13 countries, but I’m now happily settled on The Ophthalmologist, where I’m busy getting stuck into all things eyeballs.

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