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Haig Pakhchanian, Sunil Bellur, Rahul Raiker, Monica Dalal, H Nida Sen; National Trends of Ophthalmic-Related Procedures during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(8):1742.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disturbances as stay-at-home restrictions have prevented adequate healthcare delivery. This investigation aimed to assess the pandemic’s impact on the incidence of ophthalmic-related procedures compared to the pre-pandemic period.
TriNetX (Cambridge, MA, USA) is a real-time, federated healthcare database that was used in this retrospective review. At the time of the study, the database included 60 million unique electronic medical records (EMR) of patients from 41 healthcare organizations (HCOs) across the US. The goal of this study was to analyze the incidence of new ophthalmic procedures that were performed during a period of the COVID-19 pandemic from April 1, 2020 - September 30, 2020. April 2020 was used as the start date as this was the first full month when national lockdown measures were implemented in the USA. Similar incidence data was also extracted from the corresponding time frame of April to July in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 data was then compared to a pooled 2018-2019 data of the same time period through descriptive analyses and an independent samples t-test.
The incidence between fourteen types of ophthalmic procedures experienced a statistically significant reduction between April 1 to September 30, 2020 when compared to overlapping months in 2018 and 2019. Thirteen of the fourteen procedures saw at least a 32.0% decrease in incidence. These procedures included: Keratorefractive surgery (-60.3% change, p<0.001), keratoplasty (-58.4% change, p<0.001), cataract surgery (-50.5% change, p<0.001), pterygium (-49.0% change, p<0.001), oculoplastic (-47.7% change, p<0.001), YAG capsulotomy (-44.3% change, p<0.001), strabismus (-43.2% change, p=0.004), laser trabeculoplasty (-40.1% change, p<0.001), retina surgery (-38.5% change, p<0.001), glaucoma (-36.1% change, p<0.001), panretinal laser photocoagulation (-33.9% change, p<0.001), and intravitreal injection (-32.0% change, p<0.001). The incidence of global trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic was similar to identical months in 2018-2019.
The significant reduction in ophthalmic procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that patients are delaying ophthalmic care in the US. Further research is necessary to determine the future implications of this disruption in the care of ophthalmic patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a 2021 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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