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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 2396-2398

Impact of COVID-19-related lockdown-I on a network of rural eye centres in Southern India


1 Allen Foster Community Eye Health Research Centre, Gullapalli Pratibha Rao International Centre for Advancement of Rural, Eyecare L V Prasad Eye Institute; Brien Holden Eye Research Centre, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Brien Holden Eye Research Centre; Department of eyeSmart EMR and AEye, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
3 Allen Foster Community Eye Health Research Centre, Gullapalli Pratibha Rao International Centre for Advancement of Rural, Eyecare L V Prasad Eye Institute; Brien Holden Eye Research Centre; School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rohit C Khanna
L V Prasad Eye Institute, L V Prasad Marg, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad - 500 034, Telangana

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2303_20

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Purpose: With the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), India went for lockdown-I on March 23, 2020. In this article, we report on the demographic profile and ocular disorders from our 20 rural eye centres during lockdown-I and its comparison with the pre-lockdown period. Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted for all patients who visited or had teleconsultations at the 20 rural centres in our network between March 23 and April 19, 2020. Demographic and clinical details were collected from electronic medical records (EMR). Subspecialty was decided based on the diagnosis. Patients who needed advanced care were referred to the higher tertiary centres. We report the profile of patients seen and managed at the rural centres and the reasons for referrals. We also compare the data with the pre-lockdown period. Results: During the lockdown-I period, a total of 263 patients were treated including 48 teleconsultations (18.25%). The mean age was 48.16 years (SD: 19.53 years). There were 118 females (44.87%). As compared to pre-lockdown, during the lockdown, the patient visits were highest in the cornea and anterior segment specialty with 114 patients (43.35%), including conjunctivitis (n = 25; 22.32%). Of the 263 patients, 24 patients (9.12%) were referred to tertiary centres. This includes 6/27 (22.22%) patients of microbial keratitis. As compared to this, during pre-lockdown, 28,545 patients were seen. The mean age was 49.03 years (SD: 19.24 years). There were 14,927 (52.29%) females. The referral was 1525 (5.34%), including 34/249 (13.65%) of those with keratitis. Conclusion: Lockdown-I had significantly impacted patient care in rural areas. As compared to the pre-lockdown period, during the lockdown, there was an issue with access to services by females. Despite a higher number of specialty patients (including emergencies) visiting during the lockdown, 91% of the patients who visited rural centres could be managed locally, avoiding long-distance travel.


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