Local woman anxiously waits for elective eye surgery so she can see evenly

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — A Lubbock woman is waiting to get cataract surgery after it was postponed due to the coronavirus.

On March 22, Governor Greg Abbott suspended all elective surgeries across Texas. Ruth Ruzicka had gotten cataract surgery on her left eye on March 16.

“So now I am nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other eye so it’s difficult,” she said. “You get headaches because of it and your eyes get tired. You have to rest them throughout the day.”

Ruzicka said basic activities such as stepping is difficult because of depth perception. She also can’t do her taxes because she can’t stare at a computer for too long.

Katherine Wells, the Director of Public Health with the City of Lubbock, said certain procedures and surgeries were postponed to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) that would be needed during the pandemic.

She said although the governor opened up elective surgeries last week, it’s up to senior management of the hospitals to decide which surgeries they feel safe to open back up.

“[It’s] whether or not they feel comfortable that they can certify that they don’t need any additional PPE from the government stockpiles,” she said. “And then they also have to be able to keep a certain portion of their hospital beds empty to be able to handle any increase in COVID patients.”

UMC said it is reopening some elective procedures this week and more next week.

Covenant Health has also opened up for some elective procedures and surgeries.

“As of April 22, certain Covenant Health ministries resumed urgent elective surgeries/procedures/diagnostic testing. These procedures are for patients who have an immediate need for a surgical procedure and face deteriorating health if the procedure is further delayed. At this time, we currently have adequate capacity within our hospital and feel confident that we can safely care for additional patients who need an essential procedure. For specific questions about potential for a procedure, please contact your physician’s office.” 

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