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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 1367-1370

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on people living with visual disability

Community Ophthalmology, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Suraj S Senjam
Room No. 791, 7th Floor, Community Ophthalmology, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1513_20

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People living with visual disabilities/impairment are more likely vulnerable to get contracted from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV 2) than people without visual impairment. This means more than 253 million people globally will be at higher risk of affecting by the COVID-19. The current pandemic, followed by a nationwide emergency lockdown to slow the unprecedented spread of the virus, will have a serious impact on people living with visual disabilities and even endangers their lives in the long run. Many restrictive and control measures, including the adoption of new behavioural changes (for example, social distance during outdoor movement, limiting touch or tactile contact) recommended by the government will pose immense challenges to individuals with a visual loss. This serious impact, including challenges in healthcare access, can be minimized through inclusive service approaches, involving persons with visual disabilities, caregivers, family members, and healthcare providers, along with the community to a large extent, and finally, support to improve the overall outcomes. The government, along with profit or non-profit private sectors, should consider initiating such inclusive approaches while planning responses to the pandemic. Indeed, the present COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity for health care planners and decision-makers of various organizations across India for a reformation of disabilities care. Impacts due to the pandemic and lockdown can be reduced substantially if planning and policy are in place before any emergency happened in the future.

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