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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 1381-1384

Teleconsultation at a tertiary care government medical university during COVID-19 Lockdown in India – A pilot study

Department of Ophthalmology, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Siddharth Agrawal
King George's Medical University, Chowk, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1658_20

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Purpose: COVID-19 related pan- India lockdown brought teleophthalmology to the forefront. The study ventures to understand the relevance of this modality in a government setup. The objective is to understand the feasibility, clinical profile and addressability of patients using teleconsultation in ophthalmology at a tertiary care government medical university during the COVID-19 Lockdown in India. Methods: An online survey targeting faculty members and resident doctors in a tertiary eye center in a government medical university in north India was conducted. Various aspects of teleconsultation were analyzed including the number and preferential mode of consultations, commonest complaints and diagnoses made. Frequency and factors mandating physical examination of patients was also analyzed. Results: The questionnaire was sent to 40 ophthalmologists of whom 38 responded. A total of 4880 teleconsultations were given. The commonest mode of communication was by WhatsApp messages (65.6%) and E-mail was the least preferred medium. More than 80% consultations were from previously seen patients. Red eye was the commonest presenting complaint (22.8%), followed by watering (18.7%) and foreign body sensation (14.5%). Computer vision syndrome was the commonest diagnosis (25.9%) followed by conjunctivitis (17.7%) and refractive error (17.7%). About 40% required physical examination, mostly due to uncertain diagnosis (22%) or inadequate response to prescribed treatment (19%). Conclusion: Teleconsultation was feasible in a government medical university for providing ophthalmic services during lockdown. WhatsApp was the preferred communication modality, computer vision syndrome was the most frequent tentative diagnosis and approximately 60% did not require in-person physical examination.

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