We are terribly sad for all of the hurt and pain that the current pandemic is causing. Our hearts go out to all of the families impacted by this terrible virus.
There is quite a bit of news that we have all seen regarding COVID-19 and my belief is that there will be more positive than negative news in the coming weeks. What started as an extremely challenging, emotionally draining, fearful global pandemic is turning into an opportunity for bright spots.
The brightest spot is spending more time with our families. Personally, we have had more family time in the past 3 weeks than we have had in the past year combined. Life has slowed down a bit and that has allowed us to reconnect as a family unit in ways that seemed impossible just a few weeks ago.
Our community is spending more time outdoors. While making sure that we are practicing proper physical distancing, we are seeing a surge in the amount of families going on walks, throwing the ball around the yard or just hanging out on the lawn. This seems to lift everyone’s spirits, plus as an added bonus it is important to be outside for children’s visual development now more than ever! The reason being that during the stay at home order, there is likely a significant increase in screen time for children associated with e/remote learning and the fact that sometimes you exhaust non-screen options. Increased screen time may lead to increased deterioration of eye sight. Spending time outdoors has proven to be an effective antidote to deterioration of eye sight. Our recommendation is to spend at least 2 hours a day or more outdoors.
Another bright spot is seeing the resiliency in our team and in our profession. Our practice has a specialty in vision therapy (VT). My elevator speech of VT is that it is akin to physical therapy but improves visual processing in the brain. VT consists of weekly office visits, one on one, with a trained therapist to work on activities specifically designed to improve brain pathways responsible for vision beyond eye sight. That includes focusing, eye teaming, tracking, visual perception and visual integration. We closed our doors on March 18, 2020 hoping to re-open April 1, 2020. After all COVID-19 reportedly has an incubation period of 2 weeks so if we all take a 2 week break from society then we should be all clear. Well, we now all know that to get through this we are going to have to take a longer break than initially popularized and will likely not be in the practice seeing patients regularly for all of April and into May. The team at Park Ridge Vision has been incredible in how flexible and caring they have been. Our team, despite being laid off until we can secure payroll protection, continues to stay engaged. Our colleagues in VT have started multiple forums and education to collaborate on how to best deliver quality VT virtually.
Our two amazing therapists, Katie Kelly and Melanie Bradshaw along with our doctors have worked hard over the past few weeks adapting our systems so that we may deliver quality, individualized therapy to our patients. We will have our program ready for delivery beginning on Monday, April 13, 2020. This is important as ever as parents acting as educators can see first hand the impact learning related vision problems can have on performance. If you are a current VT patient or are waiting to start the program you will hear from us this week to schedule your virtual sessions. We will plan virtual therapy until it is safe to return to the practice. This new system will allow us to work with patients and families from far distances even when the current pandemic resolves which is something that likely would not have happened otherwise.
The last bright spot for today is that we have evolved our contact lens ordering to begin offering online ordering through our website at this link. This ability transforms how accessible we are to our contact lens patients throughout the year. You no longer will have to call, leave a message or email in order to receive your contact lenses, you can order them from the comfort or your own couch! This feature allows a small, family owned practice such as ours the same ability as the behemoth companies have had for years.
This shutdown has been challenging. We are projecting to lose 2 months from this year which will significantly impact us as a business. But as people this has empowered us, taught us adaptability, helped redirect us to what is important in life and has given us time that we otherwise would not have. Please stay healthy, please stay safe.
Love and respect to all,
Dr. Dan Press