May 1, 2020

At Vistar Eye Center, it is our priority to care for our patients in the safest and most effective way possible. We have missed our patients over the past several weeks while we have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, we have treated patients with urgent and emergent eye issues, which allowed us to further refine our processes to ensure the safest treatment possible.

Beginning May 1, 2020, we will begin seeing non-urgent patients. Rest assured we are taking strong precautions to ensure our patients’ safety and protection.


  • We will screen everyone who enters the building.
  • Patient screening will consist of asking a few questions and a quick temperature check at the front door.
  • If the patient is running a fever or has been in contact with someone who was exposed to COVID-19, we will reschedule their appointment.


  • All Vistar staff and doctors are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Patients are required to wear a face covering or mask to their appointment.

Social Distancing

  • We continue to follow the social distancing guidelines.
  • After the patient checks in and completes the patient screening process, we may ask them to wait in their car until the doctor is ready to see them.
  • We will do our best to keep our patients’ wait times to a minimum.
  • If anyone is coming with the patient to their appointment, we will ask them to wait in the car while the patient is being seen, unless there is a physical or mental disability that makes it necessary to accompany the patient into the office.


  • We are following all CDC guidelines for disinfecting our offices and staff hygiene including:
    • All rooms wiped down between patients
    • All public areas disinfected hourly
    • All employees wearing masks
    • All employees required to wash hands regularly

We appreciate your patience as we adjust to new treatment protocols during this unparalleled time. We are grateful that we can continue helping our patients in the safest way possible.

March 18, 2020

At Vistar Eye Center, our highest priority is the health and welfare of our patients and employees.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has directed us to limit all appointments to urgent or emergent care effective immediately. Therefore, all non-emergency appointments scheduled up to April 30, 2020, will be rescheduled. Please note that as we respond to this dynamic situation in the coming days, we may reschedule appointments after that date. Our Patient Support Specialists will reach out to patients by phone to reschedule.

Currently, our Hershberger and Smith Mountain Lake locations are closed. In addition, the decision has been made to close the Salem and Martinsville ambulatory surgery centers. The Oak Grove ambulatory surgery center will remain open to perform urgent cases.

Even in these uncertain times, you can trust that we will do what is best for our patients and our community. We are exploring alternative care options for our patients and will release more information as that is developed.

Finally, thank you for your patience when calling Vistar Eye Center as we’re experiencing higher than normal call volumes.


New recommendations for urgent and nonurgent patient care” from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, March 18, 2020

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Academy of Ophthalmology now finds it essential that all ophthalmologists cease providing any treatment other than urgent or emergent care immediately.

We now live and practice in a critically different medical reality-a rapidly evolving viral pandemic that is projected to, if unchecked, kill millions of Americans and tens of millions around the world. Public health experts agree that we must do two things on an urgent basis.

First, we must reduce the risk of the SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission from human to human and the rate of new case development.  Only in that way can we “flatten the curve” and not overwhelm our very limited supply of hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines. We have already hit that stage in a few hard-hit metropolitan areas.

Second, we must as a nation conserve needed disposable medical supplies and focus them to the hospitals where they are most needed.

This disease is now in every state and the number of new cases is currently doubling every 1-2 days. Already, a handful of our ophthalmologist colleagues have died from COVID-19. It is essential that we as physicians and as responsible human beings do what we can and must to reduce virus transmission and enhance our nation’s ability to care for those desperately ill from the disease. Public health experts unanimously agree that our window to modify the spread of disease is a narrow and closing one.

Accordingly, the American Academy of Ophthalmology strongly recommends that all ophthalmologists provide only urgent or emergent care. This includes both office-based care and surgical care. The Academy recognizes that “urgency” is determined by physician judgment and must always take into account individual patient medical and social circumstances.  Each of us has a societal responsibility to not function as a vector of a potentially fatal disease-and one for which a widely available treatment or vaccine does not currently exist.

This is an existential crisis. We as physicians must respond to it and support our colleagues and our communities. Be safe.”