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EXPEDITED PUBLICATION, ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 714-718

Impact of teleophthalmology during COVID-19 lockdown in a tertiary care center in South India


1 Department of Paediatrics, Aravind Eye Hospital and Post Graduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Glaucoma, Aravind Eye Hospital and Post Graduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Retina, Aravind Eye Hospital and Post Graduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ashwin Segi
Department of Glaucoma, Aravind Eye Hospital, S. N. High Road, Tirunelveli Jn - 627 001, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2935_20

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Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe the experience of teleconsultations addressed at our hospital in India during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. Methods: This cross-sectional hospital-based study included 977 teleconsultations presenting between April 1st and May 31, 2020. A two-level protocol was implemented to triage the calls. Results: Overall, 977 teleconsultation were addressed. Of the 621 teleconsultation addressed the most common queries were related to redness/pain/ watering/blurred vision/itching/irritation (52.49%), followed by queries related to medications (28.01%), appointments (18.84%) & 0.64% cited an emergency need to visit the hospital due to sudden loss of vision. The majority of the queries were directed to the department of cornea (58.93%) followed by retina (16.26%), cataract (13.04%), glaucoma (10.14%) & pediatric ophthalmology (1.61%). The most common advice given to the patient was related to medications (47.66%) followed by appointment-related queries (31.72%) & fixing of surgical appointment (20.61%). Among the 356 preterm babies that were screened, 57 (16.01%) were diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Of them 3 required laser and 3 were given injection. Conclusion: Teleconsultation is here to stay beyond the pandemic. WhatsApp was the preferred modality of communication for us. Teleophthalmology has given us insights to use this evolving technology to reach out to the population at large to provide eye care services. We believe that this mode of teleophthalmology has helped us in providing feasible eye care to the patients.


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