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Jacobi A Robertson, Marwan Abdulaal, Madison T Moore, Joseph M Coney, Sean Platt, Llewelyn J Rao, David G Miller, Scott D Pendergast, Jerome P Schartman, Michael A Novak, Shawn A Lewis, Matthew K Adams, Arnold F Nothnagel, Thomas P Hull, Thomas J Tsai; Risk and Assessment of COVID-19 in a Retina Ophthalmologic Setting. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(8):1989.
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To evaluate the risks and impact of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, on a private ophthalmology practice in Ohio and analyze the fluctuation in patient visits and surgeries before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A retrospective analysis was performed using outpatient clinic logs for patients seen during the first 10 weeks of 2020 and compared to outpatient clinic logs for 10 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the twenty-week period, the number of appointments, intravitreal injections, and surgeries, most commonly retinal detachments, epiretinal membrane (ERM), and vitreous hemorrhages, were compared. Additionally, consideration was given to potential measures to reduce the spread and maintain pre-pandemic clinical care levels. The number of appointments, injections administered, and surgeries completed or postponed were analyzed before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The practice implemented additional precautions for patients and staff. These included, but were not limited to, temperature checks, hand sanitizer availability, required use of face masks, and asking patients to come alone to appointments; with the exception of patients that were wheelchair bound, suffered from dementia, were under the age of 18, or required a translator.
During the first 10 weeks of 2020, the practice saw an average of 2,205 visits a week. In week one of the pandemic, the average was 1,147 patients per week, a 54% drop. An overall 40% drop was seen in surgical cases; vitreous hemorrhage surgeries decreased by 35%, retinal detachment surgeries decreased 25%, and ERM peels reduced by 60%. The drop in ERM’s were mostly due to rescheduling. Intravitreal injections during the first 10 weeks averaged 1,025 (SD±112) per week. During the start of the 10 COVID-19 weeks, intravitreal injections averaged 852 (SD±122) per week and by the last weeks injections averaged 972 (SD±142) per week.
In the early stages, the initial number of outpatient visits declined by 54%, the average number of intravitreal injections did not change in a similar pattern. This represents the importance of patients’ triage and prioritizing urgent cases.
This is a 2021 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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