ESSENTIAL Medical Visits requiring an Office Appointment

Published on March 23, 2020Author: Alison Justus

COVID19 Patient Information Update for MERSI Eye Center and OIUF

As you may have heard, Governor Baker has issued “A Stay in Place Order” for the state of Massachusetts for all non-essential businesses beginning at noon on March 24, 2020.   MERSI is considered essential, but we will need to restrict visits to those defined as essential.

ESSENTIAL Medical Visits requiring an Office Appointment:

  • Any patient actively being treated with immunosuppressive therapy (oral, infusion, or injection)
  • Any patient with acute or new symptoms/problems
  • Any follow up patient who had acute or new symptoms/problems and was placed on active treatment needing reassessment
  • Patients who are experiencing flashers, floaters, eye pain, or light sensitivity
  • Retina patients who are receiving injections to control their eye disease progression
  • Glaucoma patients actively being treated for elevated pressure issues or in late-stage disease
  • If you  feel the situation is urgent, call to schedule an appointment or arrange for a phone call with one of our clinical staff to determine the nature of the urgency for the visit
  • All routine, annual, screening appointments will be rescheduled unless you have new symptoms (which can be discussed with one of our clinical staff to determine urgency)

****We ask if you are sick or have returned from travel or been exposed to someone from who had traveled or is high-risk for contracting the Covid 19 virus to reschedule your appointments.***

Recommendations for those of you on immunomodulatory therapy:

We recommend you always  be vigilant about practicing universal precautions to prevent getting ill (see below).  The flu is a concern each year, which is why we recommend and encourage you to get the flu shot and now, we have a new viral illness in addition to the flu that we all are at risk for contracting.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that had not been previously identified in humans.

The virus causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever and in more severe cases, pneumonia.


The new coronavirus like the flu spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

Practices to Protect Yourself:

  1. We encourage universal precautions, which one should practice always to avoid the flu, cold, or other illnesses in addition to the Coronavirus.
    1. 20-30 second handwashing, use hand sanitizer if no soap after touching surfaces and always before eating
    2. disinfect surfaces you will need to touch including your work space
    3. avoid touching door knobs or handles, elevator buttons, shopping carts, etc with hands. Use instead for example a wipe, paper towel, shirt sleeve, glove, or on elevator button your knuckle instead of finger tip  
    4. do not eat food with hands  
    5. avoid touching your face, mouth, and nose with hands
  • Air Travel or public spaces Postpone to avoid any risks until the virus spread is under control. 
  • The CDC provides great guidelines on their website. Please visit

Of note, If you develop any illness, infection, or fever of 99 degrees F or > or if you have been exposed to a high risk person for Covid 19 or Flu; please notify your doctor immediately and hold your immunosuppressive therapy medication immediately.  Specifically, if you have a fever of 101° Fahrenheit (38.3° Celsius), with or without chills, call your doctor immediately.   If you cannot reach your doctor, go to an emergency room.

In general, when you are healthy your risk for contracting an illness lessens so we recommend 8 hours of sleep, good hydration (8-10 glasses of noncaffeinated fluid a day), a multivitamin daily, and exercise if possible 3 times a week.   We also recommend smoking cessation if applicable to you.

Mersi Providers and Nursing Staff


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