You may be wondering what the Courtyard by Marriott has to do with the pandemic. Well as it turns out, a lot. At the start of the pandemic, in early March 2020, businesses began to shut down in record numbers, including hotels and restaurants. While all of the hotels surrounding Coleman Vision closed, the Courtyard by Marriott located directly next door to our office, was deemed essential and remained open.
More than half of our patients come from outside Albuquerque, mostly from the southwest but also from around the country. We provide an overnight stay for these patients at the Marriott which is why Coleman Vision has been the single biggest client for this hotel for 22 years. They take incredible care of our patients, many of whom are understandably a little nervous when they arrive.
LASIK has always been a great way to get out of glasses and contact lenses but its’ popularity soared to new heights at the beginning of the pandemic. There were multiple reasons for this; many that could be anticipated and some that were unexpected.
First and foremost, for many people glasses and masks are completely incompatible. Frames slipping down their nose as well as constant fogging can make things difficult at best. Not surprising, our healthcare workers, and specifically nurses, have great difficulty wearing glasses over a mask, particularly when you add a face shield to the equation as well as sterile gloves. This makes for an unsafe environment to read monitors, start IV lines, and chart progress notes for optimum patient care.
In the early days of the pandemic, the route of transmission of the coronavirus was not fully understood and as a result many healthcare facilities placed a ban on wearing contact lenses. For a person accustomed to wearing contact lenses, especially the extended-wear type, this dynamic became particularly problematic. Going from always wearing a contact lens to only wearing glasses can be life-altering when considering the loss of peripheral vision as well as the effect of all images being made smaller by the eyeglass prescription.
Additionally, and somewhat unexpectedly, when doctor’s offices began to close many patients immediately lost access to contact lenses, new prescriptions, and routine eyecare. This really drove home the point for many people regarding their true dependence on their preferred way to correct their vision and left many feeling not only vulnerable but unsafe. Similar to being caught in a remote area and developing an eye issue related to a contact lens, or suddenly losing a pair of glasses in an area unfamiliar to you, not having a way to correct vision can be quite threatening. These scenarios made a lot of people consider LASIK as a way to allow them to see independently.
So thank God for modern LASIK, motivated patients, and the wonderful staff at the Courtyard by Marriott!