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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 442-447

Impact of coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on the epidemiology of intravitreal injections

Department of Retina, Farabi Eye Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Mohammad Zarei
Farabi Eye Hospital, Qazvin Square, South Karegar Street, Tehran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/joco.joco_253_22

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Purpose: To evaluate the epidemiologic pattern of intravitreal injections (IVIs) during Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: The records of patients receiving IVIs in two 12-month periods immediately before and after the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic were included. Age, province of residency, indication, number of injections, and number of operating room (OR) visits were analyzed. Results: Compared to pre-COVID period, a 37.6% decrease in the number of patients receiving IVI in COVID period was seen (10518 vs. 6569). There was a parallel decrease in the number of OR visits (25590 vs. 15010: 41.4%) and injections (34508 vs. 19879: 42.4%). Regarding IVI indication, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) showed the highest decrease in IVI rate (46.3%) which was significantly higher than decrease in other indications (P < 0.001). Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) patients showed no change after epidemic. Mean overall age in AMD group was the highest (67.7 ± 13.2 years) compared to other indication groups (excluding ROP) (P < 0.001); while the mean age of the other indications was not significantly different from each other (excluding ROP). Conclusions: COVID pandemic decreased the number of IVIs significantly. While previous studies suggested that the AMD patients had the highest risk of visual loss due to failure to receive IVIs in a timely manner, this very same group showed the highest decrease in the IVI number after pandemic. The health systems should devise strategies to protect this most vulnerable group of patients in future similar crises.

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