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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 1401-1406

Perspectives of physicians in general and ophthalmologists in particular about restarting services post-COVID-19 lockdown

1 Vitreoretinal Services, JB Eye Care & Retina Centre, Salem, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Vitreoretinal Services, Athreya Retinal Centre, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Vitreoretinal Services, Future Vision Eye Care & Sengupta's Research Academy, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. V G Madanagopalan
Vitreoretinal Services, JB Eye Care & Retina Centre, Salem, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1221_20

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Purpose: To assess the perspectives of physicians in general and ophthalmologists in particular about restarting elective out-patient (OP) and operating (OT) services after relaxation of lockdown for COVID-19. Methods: An online survey, containing 31 questions, was conducted among medical doctors using a secure Google forms link. The survey was open for 48 hours from 16th-18th April 2020. Results: Responses were received from 556 physicians (including 266 ophthalmologists). About a third (n = 205) wanted to start OP immediately after lockdown. In OP, mask of any kind for patient (60.8%), 3-ply for assistants (52.7%) and N95 for doctors (72.7%) were most common preferences. In OP, 31.5% and 46.6% felt full PPE and gloves alone were sufficient respectively. Ophthalmologists were more likely to start immediately after lockdown compared to other specialists (P = 0.004). Among 299 surgeons, an almost equal number (27%) wanted to start routine OT services immediately and 2 weeks post lockdown. A large majority (76.9%) would mandate COVID-19 tests before elective surgeries. In OT, 34.1% wanted N95 for surgical team and 3-ply for patient, 23.4% wanted 3-ply masks for everyone. 40.5% felt additional personal protective equipment (PPE) is not required and 33.1% felt that full PPE is required for everyone in OT. Ophthalmic surgeons preferred 3-ply masks and were less inclined to use full PPE (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Perspectives of doctors vary, especially with regarding to timing of restarting services and precautions to be taken in the OT. Ophthalmologists may tend to err on the side of taking lesser stringent precautions when restarting services post lockdown.

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