Hindsight is 20/20 represents a saying in English that means "It's easy to know the right thing to do after something has happened, but it's hard to predict the future." The year 2020 is the year of clarity, but who could have seen what would be happening in 2020 is, in hindsight, is a true visionary.
With summer approaching, life is starting to go back to ‘normal’, and at least in my part of the world the pandemic is for the moment certain over its peak, this marks the final column in this Eef@online series. This started exactly three months ago, at the beginning of the lockdown in my country – and the proposed date of NCC 2020. The theme of that meeting was/is ‘beyond 2020’ and, cynically, it looks like we will be looking beyond 2020 to see that meeting happening. Last week marked one of the most iconic dates in eyecare history: 6/6/2020. In the UK and Commonwealth countries, 6/6 is the equivalent of 20/20 or 1.0 visual acuity.
Visualizing the Virus
To be honest, I cannot see that image of the COVID-19 virus anymore, without feeling a bit of nausea. We all know the picture resembling the actual virus as it appears under a microscope: the red protruding clumps – called S proteins – are what the virus uses to enter and attach to the cell. They also create the effect of a halo, or corona, around the virus. But I am not going to focus on the virus in this final episode. For more information on that: see COVIDEyeFacts.org. Kudos to them for reacting so swiftly and being so clear. Also, kudos to Shehzad Naroo and the Contact Lens & Anterior Eye team for the current (June) issue of the journal that just came out (see below for some links). The issue features no fewer than eight articles on contact lenses/contact lens practice and COVID-19. Now, let’s see ‘in hindsight’ what we can learn from all this. Maybe some of the solutions we have come up with are so good, we may want to keep them after ‘Corona’.
Looking back on three months of writing almost 20 columns in this series, a few themes stick out. First: in contact lens practice we may not necessarily always have to see our patients every six months per se. Part of the regular sequence of contact lens checkups can be done by telemedicine, using the “EyePhone” where needed and if used properly. Using telemedicine may improve communication (on hygiene, care systems, compliance) actually. Normally we focus (too much?) on the technical part maybe, and ‘hide’ behind the slit lamp. And “Yes We(b)cam!” meaning we can and should probably make use of video calling via the different platforms, to establish quite simply a better relationship with our lens wearers. Now is an excellent time to focus on our current lens wearers, rather than (just) on new lens wearers and prevent dropouts: “We can be superheroes for our existing lens wearers”.
The second general theme seems to be myopia. In quarantine time (or “cinquatine” and beyond) it wasn’t hard to see lifestyle changes in the teens I have here at home (“quaranteens”), and in kids in general – now that Netflix is their lifeline. It will not be a surprise if we see a spur in myopia after this, which we could even coin as ‘Quarantine-myopia’. Some extra “digital advice” for digital devices in this lockdown period to kids and parents is not a luxury. Also, while myopia may be increasing, it is of the utmost importance and our task to instruct patients about the risk of retinal detachment and its symptoms, and that it is imperative to come in if these symptoms occur. What this period led to, was a diversion from general eye care, which I hear from colleagues around the world now is a major problem. There is a huge backup of surgeries and treatments and (worse maybe) undiagnosed eye diseases which somehow has to be compensated soon (“social detachment”).
As said: I am a little bit done with the virus. I hope we can say COVID-19 is sóó 2020 soon. In the meantime, let us focus on the things we have learned from this period. We may potentially come out of this different. Better. Hope to see you soon again. Live. We miss you. I miss you.
Eef@online_The Eyesight is 20/20
This Eef@online series is kindly supported by an educational grant from Contamac
“Last week marked one of the most iconic dates in eyecare history: 6/6/2020”
“Maybe some of the solutions we have come up with are so good, we may want to keep them after Corona”
In the series Eef@online articles:
EYESIGHT IS 20/20