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Glen’s story: ‘Impressive’ parking lot eye care

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Glen Tilot smiles while sitting on a couch.

When Dr. Dongmei Chen of BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists learned one of her patients had been exposed to someone who’d tested positive for COVID-19, she knew she had to find way to continue his care.

Glen Tilot, who’s in his 60s, was being treated for glaucoma, an eye disease that causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve. Dr. Chen and a colleague performed cataract and retina surgery on Tilot’s right eye in September 2020. After surgery, Tilot needed to have the pressure in his right eye checked regularly.

But in October 2020, Tilot discovered he’d been in close contact with someone who’d tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to go into quarantine for 10 to 14 days. The quarantine threatened to disrupt his post-surgical eye care.

We’ll just improvise, Chen told him.

Tilot drove across town from his home on Green Bay’s far east side. (Don’t worry. It was safe to do so. He had 20/20 vision after his cataract surgery.) When Tilot arrived at BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists, he waited in his truck in the parking lot.

Chen put on a yellow gown, an N95 face mask, an eye shield and gloves – all disposable protective gear – and walked out into the parking lot. She brought along a portable device for measuring the pressure in Tilot’s right eye.

Tilot was handed an N95 mask of his own. He put it on, opened the driver’s side door of his truck, turned to his left and sat sideways in the driver’s seat to face Chen, who stood at the side of the truck. There, in the open air of the parking lot, she performed what otherwise was a routine eye pressure check.

“When Dr. Chen walked out to my truck, you should have seen the looks from some of the people in the parking lot who were waiting to go inside,” Tilot said. “But that’s how we had to do it.”

Tilot needed just two eye pressure checks in the parking lot during his quarantine. After he got the all clear on COVID-19, his care resumed inside BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists.

Tilot has since had glaucoma surgery performed by Dr. Joseph T. Bergmann, but he marvels at the care he received during his quarantine.

“Dr. Chen really went above and beyond to show her concern for retaining my sight in that eye after my surgeries. It was impressive,” Tilot said.

Published: Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Author: Jeff Ash