Vision Eye Institute’s dedicated eye injection clinic in Boronia, Victoria has reached out to patients in the lead up to Macula Month (1–31 May), to remind them of the importance of monitoring and maintaining macula health with regular check-ups and ongoing intravitreal injections where needed.
Physical distancing rules brought about by the recent COVID-19 have confused some patients, resulting in missed appointments. Adding to this are the financial constraints associated with a tightening economy, which can discourage patients from attending appointments. Around 26% of patients are known to discontinue injection treatment after 12 months due to significant out-of-pocket costs and inconvenience.*
Vision Eye Institute retinal specialist Dr Devinder Chauhan said patients needs to be reminded that eye injections are considered an essential medical service.
“It’s really important for people to understand that the main reason for continuing eye injections is to prevent blindness. Missing appointments or choosing not to have injections can cause permanent loss of vision,” he said.
The eye injection clinic at Vision Eye Institute Boronia was established in 2016 to offer affordable and convenient intravitreal injections in an effort to combat high rates of patients abandoning treatment.
“Eye injections as a private patient can set you back hundreds of dollars per injection. While we are a private clinic, our service is structured so that all patients can receive treatment at minimal cost,” said Dr Chauhan. “Our aim is to let all Victorian residents know that our dedicated eye injection clinic in Boronia represents an affordable alternative to public hospital and private eye clinics.”
There are zero out-of-pocket expenses for consultations and scans for patients currently receiving eye injections for a medical condition, who have a current referral letter.
Before the pandemic, unprecedented demand for an affordable eye injection service in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs led to the expansion of the facility. The expansion was specifically designed to support large numbers of patients with minimal wait times.
we are able to take on a greater number of patients, which further helps to alleviate some of the burden on the healthcare system as a whole
“By expanding the clinic and our eye injection service, we are able to take on a greater number of patients, which further helps to alleviate some of the burden on the healthcare system as a whole,” said Dr Chauhan. “We have also made the entire process more efficient, so people are in the clinic for the shortest possible time.”
Patients who have not previously had eye injections need to have an initial consultation to determine their suitability for this type of treatment.
“While the initial consultation does carry an out-of-pocket cost, patients are eligible for a Medicare rebate. If the patient needs this kind of injection, they can then transfer into our affordable eye injection clinic on an ongoing basis.
“The clinic also accepts patients from all over Victoria,’ says Dr Chauhan. ‘As long as a patient is willing to travel, we can accept them at our clinic. For some patients, it may actually be cheaper and quicker to catch a taxi to Boronia, have their injection and then taxi home again. Unfortunately, patients can wait hours for an injection in many clinics. Our dedicated eye injection clinic ensures that everyone can access high-quality care in a private clinic during a short appointment and with a minimal out-of-pocket cost.
“Everybody’s sight is precious, and we want to make sure that there’s no reason for anyone to stop their injections against their doctor’s recommendation, whether that be due to cost or inconvenience.”
In response to COVID-19, Vision Eye Institute Boronia has implemented strict precautions to reduce the risk of viral transmission while at the clinic. On behalf of his highly trained clinical team, Dr Chauhan explained, “All patients are required to undergo temperature checks before entering the clinic and we have ensured there is abundant access to hand sanitiser at all times.
“Over and above this, we introduced a limit to the number of patients and staff that are in the clinic at any given time and increased the time between appointments to maximise social distancing and allow time for deep cleaning.
To further ensure the Boronia injection clinic can continue to support the demand from patients needing vision-saving injections during this period, Dr Chauhan said, “We have separated teams of medical staff on a rotation to guarantee an undisrupted injection service even if some staff have to self-isolate or quarantine.”
*Novartis Data on file