Emergent Ophthalmic Surgical Care at a Tertiary Referral Center During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hasenin Al-khersan, Meghana A. Kalavar, Rebecca Tanenbaum, Thomas A. Lazzarini, Nimesh A. Patel, Nicolas A. Yannuzzi, Jayanth Sridhar, Justin H. Townsend, Audina M. Berrocal, Zubair A. Ansari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study characterized the delivery of emergent ophthalmic surgical care during April 2020 of the coronarvirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic compared with the same interval the previous year. Design: Retrospective observational before-and-after study. Methods: This study reviewed and characterized each emergent and/or urgent procedure performed during April 2020 and April 2019 at a single tertiary ophthalmology referral center. Information collected included the details of patient presentation, diagnosis, surgical procedure, and preoperative COVID-19 testing. Results: In total, 117 surgical procedures were performed on 114 patients during the month of April 2020 compared with 1,107 performed in April 2019 (P < .0001). Retinal detachment repair was the most common procedure (n = 37; 31.6%) in April 2020, whereas elective cataract surgery (n = 481; 47.3%) was the most common procedure in April 2019. The mean age of patients was 50.0 years in April 2020 compared with 59.0 years (P < .0001) the previous year. During April 2020, the mean age of surgeons performing procedures was 42.3 years compared with 48.4 years (P < .0001) during April 2019. In April 2020, all but 5 patients (96%) had reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction based COVID-19 testing before their procedure. One patient (0.88%) had a positive COVID-19 test. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic decreased our institution's surgical volume in April 2020 to approximately 10% of the usual volume. The pandemic changed the type of cases performed and led to a statistically significant decrease in both the age of our surgeons and patients relative to the same interval in the previous year. Broad preoperative screening led to 1 positive COVID-19 test in an asymptomatic patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-372
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
StatePublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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