04.06.2021 | COVID-19 | Originalien
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Impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on ophthalmic care in Germany
Prof. Dr. Lars-Olof Hattenbach, F.E.B.O., Dr. Peter Heinz, Nicolas Feltgen, Hans Hoerauf, Thomas Kohnen, Siegfried Priglinger, Werner Bachmann, Johannes Rieks, Nicole Eter, Thomas Reinhard
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Survey by the commission for cross-sectoral ophthalmology, as a joint commission of the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG) and the Professional Association of German Ophthalmologists (BVA) on the effects of the SARS-CoV‑2 pandemic on ophthalmological patient care in Germany.
A total of 1190 questionnaires were (partly) answered. With respect to outpatient care and consultations from 15 March to 15 April 2020, a total of 69 (5.8%) participants indicated unlimited, 756 (63.5%) reduced and 330 (27.7%) emergency care only, independent of the type of institution. Outpatient surgery was restricted to emergency surgery in 68% of clinics, 42.0% of inpatient wards, 45.0% of surgical medical care centers and group practices and 33.0% of private practices. Inpatient procedures were limited to emergency care in 75.0% of inpatient wards and in 71.0% of clinics. With the exception of endophthalmitis (+8.2%), the number of urgent indications and emergencies declined: retinal detachment (−34.8%), perforating eyeball injuries (−7.3%), acute glaucoma (−17.8%), central retinal artery occlusion and anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (−31.0%), others (−30.9%), penetrating keratoplasty and amniotic membrane transplantation (−59.1%). Institutional or professional policy requirements (76.0%) and appointment cancellation by patients (84.0%) were the most common reasons for limitations in ophthalmic patient care.
The initial phase of the pandemic was characterized by a massive reduction in non-urgent conservative and surgical treatment that affected all areas of ophthalmology. Due to intensive care capacities required for COVID-19 patients, inpatient treatment was largely restricted to emergencies. Treatment of ophthalmological patients, including ocular emergencies and urgent treatment, was maintained across all sectors with a (considerable) decrease in the number of cases even in these groups.