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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 2391-2395

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic, national lockdown, and unlocking on an apex tertiary care ophthalmic institute

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

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Namrata Sharma
Cornea, Lens and Refractive Surgery Services, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2366_20

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Purpose: To evaluate the impact of 2019 COVID-19 pandemic, national lockdown, and unlocking on ophthalmic care provided by the government-funded apex health institute of India. Methods: Retrospective review of electronic medical records of all patients presenting to the ophthalmology department from March 23, 2020, to July 15, 2020, was compared with that from March 23, 2019, to July 15, 2019. The data between March 23, 2020, to May 31, 2020 (lockdown) and June 06, 2020, to July 15, 2020 (unlock) was compared separately. Parameters evaluated were age, gender, presenting complaints, final diagnosis, treatment advised, and surgical interventions. Results: During the lockdown, routine outpatient flow reduced by 97.14% (P < 0.001), the median age of presentation decreased to 29 years (55 years last year) and males increased by 4.7% (from 61.51% to 66.21%) in 2020. Emergency services decreased by 35.25%, percentage of children decreased by 4.28% (from 34.28% to 30%) and males increased by 13.53% (from 59.97% to 73.5%). Mechanical trauma, microbial keratitis, and conjunctivitis were the most common reasons for presentation. The former lessened by 41.75% while the latter two amplified by 1.25 times and 2 times, respectively. While sanitizer-associated chemical injury increased in proportion, endophthalmitis, and postoperative complications declined. The number of donor corneas collected and emergency therapeutic keratoplasties performed decreased by 99.61% and 92.39%, respectively (P < 0.001). During the unlocking phase, routine patient consultations were 71 ± 19/day, significantly lower than 978 ± 109/day of last year (P < 0.001). No voluntary eye donation was reported during this period. Conclusion: COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown severely hampered the delivery of ophthalmic care by the apex-ophthalmic institute. Unlike anticipated, lifting of pandemic-associated lockdown served only minimally in improving patient inflow in its initial phases.

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