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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 1483-1485

Lockdown diary of an ophthalmologist: Nineteen tips for unlocking your life during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

SuVi Eye Institute and Lasik Laser Center, Kota, Rajasthan, India

Date of Web Publication25-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Suresh K Pandey
SuVi Eye Institute and Lasik Laser Center, C 13 Talwandi, Kota - 324 005, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1157_20

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How to cite this article:
Pandey SK, Sharma V. Lockdown diary of an ophthalmologist: Nineteen tips for unlocking your life during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:1483-5

How to cite this URL:
Pandey SK, Sharma V. Lockdown diary of an ophthalmologist: Nineteen tips for unlocking your life during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 28];68:1483-5. Available from: https://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2020/68/7/1483/287468

The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the world has faced since the Second World War. The new historical divide will be termed as B.C. (Before COVID-19) and A.C. (After COVID-19). There are uncertainties and lots of questions about the future of almost every domain including health, practice pattern and career in medicine. It will take several months or even years for all of us to recover from the setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an always light after the dark. We ophthalmologists have witnessed it during our professional life several times while restoring sight of our blind patients. The after COVID-19 era will put hygiene, health, hospitals and the healthcare industry in focus. We will be witnessing several innovative changes in the near future with more global focus on health, health education and increased awareness among public for sanitation, hygiene, healthy lifestyle as well as an increasing trend of digital-health (virtual consultation) and tele-medical conferences (webinars) for exchange of knowledge. All these measure will help us to prepare in better way to fight with such pandemic in future. All members of ophthalmic fraternity need to stay united, help, support and guide each other during this difficult time.

- From Lockdown Diary of an Ophthalmologist

Dear Editor:

As India is under lockdown status till May 31, 2020, most of the ophthalmologists, residents, fellows are staying at home or few seeing limited number of patients or providing only emergency services. Ever since we learnt of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we had been anticipating and expecting certain inconveniences like the present lockdown assuming that it would continue off and on till end of June or July 2020 or even more. One cannot neglect the complexity of a COVID-19 pandemic, knowing the need of physical distancing, staying at home to flatten the curve, till herd immunity is developed or a definite treatment and/or vaccine is available. As an ophthalmologist, it is also our responsibility to ensure safety of ourselves, our family members, our patients and our staff and to quickly adapt to the new normal after COVID-19 pandemic.[1]

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, doctors and healthcare workers are working as frontline corona warriors – and many of them sacrificed their life while saving patients during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[2],[3] In the fight against coronavirus, the brave medical army stands strong with thermometers, sanitizers, masks, personal protective equipment, stethoscopes, monitors and ventilators as their weapons. Not to forget, medical researchers are working day in and night out against all odds, hoping to find the vaccine to the virus.

Ophthalmologist residents, ophthalmology fellows, young ophthalmologists (who are staying at home during the lockdown time) are stressed, and worried about the future, training, career, practice, finances and health, etc. The purpose of sharing these 19 ways from our lockdown diary will help readers to stay positive and unlock their life during the corona virus lockdown time. Ophthalmologists, fellows, residents can use some of these tips to stay happy, healthy and hopeful for a better time coming in near future.

  1. C: Communicate with your mentors, friends within ophthalmology or outside ophthalmology by phone, WhatsApp message, and by email or by video call. Young ophthalmologist should use the opportunity to stay in touch with mentors, friends and colleagues of ophthalmic fraternity. For head of units/ophthalmic leaders/practice owners, it is also the time to communicate clearly and frequently with staff/team members and encourage them to stay positive and utilize the lockdown period in the most productive way.
  2. O: Outline plan to organize your life: Ophthalmology can be a busy branch and most of the residents, fellows and young ophthalmologists are very busy in learning, managing their life forcing them to allocate less time to organize their personal life. We have all got office desk disorganized, drawer chock-full of paperwork that we have never had time to sift through and organize. Whether it is bills, receipts, doctor's prescriptions (about our own health), insurance or financial papers, utilize the lockdown time to turn that mountain into a molehill by sorting through. Apart from freeing up space and de-cluttering our storage, we will get the added benefit of having all critical documents filed in one place, so we are not turning the house upside down when we really need them.
  3. R: Rejuvenate Yourself. Throughout our lives as ophthalmologist, we have been dreaming for such an atmosphere and peaceful existence. Prepare yourself to utilize this time now. Start your day with yoga/meditation, enjoy nature, read the books you always wanted to cook, write or sing. The options are limitless. Above all, use this opportunity to re-establish the bond with your family, colleagues and friends again. The family, friends, colleagues who were not getting attention due to busy lifestyle and lack of time for them: makeup to them and make the time spent in their company memorable and joyous.
  4. O: Online Webinars: The zoom meeting/eCMEs/webinars/podcasts, etc. can help young ophthalmologists to upgrade our knowledge and reconnect with leaders and colleagues. Young Ophthalmologist Society of India (YOSI), All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS), Delhi Ophthalmological Society (DOS), Intraocular Implant Refractive Society, India (IIRSI), and pharmaceutical industry are doing an excellent job of organizing various webinars that are being shared on Facebook and YouTube. Some of these virtual conferences are generating more attendance than the real conferences. Also one can always visit later and watch the presentation using the link via Facebook or YouTube platforms.
  5. N: New hobby (such as cooking, gardening, painting, listening to music, etc.) can be learned during the lockdown period.
  6. A: Ask for help from mentors for any matter related to professional career. If you are depressed or feeling low, connect with your friends or well-wishers and never hesitate to ask for help
  7. V: Visualize your inner-self by engaging in mindful meditation, Yoga, etc. Visualize your life, your strength and your limitation as well as visualize your last journey. Make plan to build your strength and overcome your limitations.
  8. I: Involve yourself to help others. You can join hands with social clubs or NGOs etc. to provide food, distribute mask, sanitizers and other essential items during this pandemic.
  9. R: Regulate your life by maintaining healthy food habits, healthy life style and healthy sleep habits. It is not uncommon to see many colleagues surfing internate during late night and posting a message on social media at odd hours during late night hours. This can lead to sleep disruption and disturbance of biological clock. The negative impact of sleep disruption on immunity, mood and productivity is well known. Without the structure of having to get to the workplace, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy sleep habits like going to bed later and getting up later. Changes to our sleep cycle now could go on to impact our mood in the weeks and months ahead.
  10. U: Utilize Me-time: During the coronavirus lockdown, all of us are getting ample time to be alone. We need to utilize 'Me-time' and reflect on our future goals, physical and mental health, career aspirations, and more. Make plan for next 5 weeks, 5 months and next 5 years, and write in a diary. Utilize this time in thinking about everything we want for ourselves but usually don't get the time to ponder over.
  11. S: Stay Connected with your patients by virtual consultation and digital health platforms for follow-up, spread positivity and stay motivated. Advances in mobile technology in particular mean that we can stay connected through calls, text, WhatsApp, email, etc. Use this time to get in contact with patients and people who may need your help. Connect with colleagues, well-wishers and contribute to a sense of togetherness that is going to be pivotal in our ability to cope both now and in the weeks ahead. Try to connect with people who haven't heard from you in a while or people in our community who are likely to be isolated right now.
  12. L: Learn new things and Let the creativity flow: Is piano/guitar/mouth organ that was bought a few years ago gathering dust in the closet? Take it out, dust it off. Take a YouTube tutorial and make it a habit to sit with your family and practice for few days. Learn to dance or sing using karaoke with family members and this exercise will boost your mood by release of endorphins and other happiness hormones. Bring-out your inner Kishore Kumar or Lata Mangeshkar. You can share your performance with other professional colleagues on social media platforms CFS Sangeet Setu is an excellent initiative taken by Dr. Mahipal S. Sachdev and Dr. Santosh G. Honavar. If you are not musically inclined, then utilize you time to cook a new dish or learning a new language through very decent language tutorials available online.
  13. O: Online Resources: We can unlock the world by using so many online resources (related to any field) that are available to us. Young ophthalmologists and residents-in training can utilize this time and online resources to view surgical videos of routine and complex cases.
  14. C: Connect with sweet memories: Going through old photo albums and arranging them in the process can bring us unbounded joy. Several studies have found that flipping through photo albums makes us significantly happier than chocolate, music, watching TV or drinking our favorite cocktail.
  15. K: Keep track of finances, and discuss with your financial advisor how to save money to survive for few months during and after COVID-19 pandemic. Financial planning is one of the most important aspects of such situation. Let us hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
  16. D: Digital House Keeping and Digital Detox: Spare some time for 'Digital House Keeping' by reorganizing the digital life, naming photos, surgical videos, old text files by putting them in appropriate folder. It is important to check a systems backup and updates of our operating system. Most important, we need to change our passwords and keep them safe. A 'digital detox' or 'digital distancing' refer to a period of time when a person refrains from using tech devices such as smartphones, televisions, computers, tablets, and social media sites. 'Detoxing' from digital devices is often seen as a way to focus on real-life social interactions without distractions. By forgoing digital devices, at least temporarily, one can let go of the stress that stems from constant connectivity. Use digital detox time for exercising, yoga and meditation.
  17. O: Outline Plan for Practice Management/Profession/Career: Utilize this lockdown time to prepare a plan for practice management and career and future life. Staff training is very important to ensure every team members is fully trained about all precautions/protocols etc. to minimize transmission of COVID-19 infection among each other and to patients.
  18. W: write a book or Write a letter to your future self: We have utilized lockdown time to complete our books as well as several articles related to new normal post-COVID-19 Time. We have completed two books entitled- 'Secrets of Successful Doctors: A Complete Guide Fulfilling Medical Career' and 'A Hippocratic Odyssey: Lessons from a Doctor Couple on Life in Medicine, Challenges and Doctorpreneurship'. The first edition of the first book is available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.in/Secrets-Successful-Doctor-Complete-Fulfilling/dp/9389225418) and we are finalizing the second edition. The second book will be published by the Bloomsbury India https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/a-hippocratic-odyssey-9789389165845/[4],[5]
  19. N: New Focus, new opportunity, new life, new work style after COVID-19. We need to see a new focus, a new opportunity, an innovative way to overcome the setback posed by coronavirus. The whole world is going to have to take that approach when this is all over, but we can do it in our own lives now. Most people are becoming kinder, and helping each other. There is a boom in volunteering to help others and there is an increased focus for hygiene, health, hospital and health awareness.

N: National Policy:

Over the last few years, we have seen that there have been various steps to address the huge problem of inadequate medical facilities for the majority population of this country, including Ayushman Bharat, National Medical Commission Bill, and so on. While many of these steps have not been popular with the medical community and have also been opposed, it is natural for the government to continue to move in a direction of Health and Medical Services for all. In the near future, there will be an increasing focus on health care; some of these changes may be beneficial for us, but we may also come in for greater regulation, as governments all over the world realize the importance of healthcare and put greater emphasis on it.

This is an evolving situation and we are yet to see the full extent of the disease in India. As the lock-down restrictions are eased, the COVID-19 disease will increase, but also there will be rapid innovations in technology, service, and processes to ensure that a new “normal” life continues despite the threats posed by COVID-19.

COVID-19 pandemic has put health on focus and the corona crisis will work as a catalyst for the governments and health policy workers in India (and globally) to invest more budgets in healthcare to deal with such pandemic. For government official and policy makers in India, it is time to take health of 1.3 billon people seriously by allocating more gross domestic product (GDP) in health, hygiene and hospitals (introducing new facility and upgrading the existing govt. run hospitals) and by appointing new doctors and healthcare workers to improve doctor-population and population-hospital beds ratio, so we strengthen our ability to fight with such pandemic in future. All India Ophthalmology Society (AIOS), Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, Young Ophthalmologist Society of India (YOSI) doing commendable work. All members of ophthalmic fraternity need to stay united, help, support and guide each other during this difficult time.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Honavar SG. Prepare or perish - Readiness is the key to reopen for routine eye care. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:677-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Pandey SK, Sharma V. A tribute to frontline corona warriors--Doctors who sacrificed their life while saving patients during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:939-42.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Pandey SK, Sharma V. Toolkit for survival: How to run and manage ophthalmic practices during the difficult time of COVID-19 crisis. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:944-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Pandey Suresh K. Secrets of Successful Doctors: A Complete Guide to a Fulfilling Medical Career. Maple Press; New Delhi: 2020.  Back to cited text no. 4
Pandey Suresh K, Sharma V. A hippocratic odyssey: Lessons from a doctor couple on life in medicine, challenges and doctorpreneurship. Bloomsbury India 2020 ; New Delhi (In Press).  Back to cited text no. 5


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