Hybrid Telehealth Medical Retina Clinic Due to Provider Exposure and Quarantine During COVID-19 Pandemic

Clin Ophthalmol. 2020 Oct 21:14:3421-3426. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S276276. eCollection 2020.


Objective: To present our hybrid telehealth medical retina clinic service with intravitreal injections (IVI) treatment as a safe alternative to in-person visits and examination during COVID-19 pandemic disease.

Methods: Due to exposure to a COVID-19 positive retina fellow, our retina service, in quarantine, evaluated patients' medical files and retinal scans using a telemedicine approach. A different protocol for patients coming for IVI during the COVID-19 pandemic was established for IVI administration.

Results: During the 14-day quarantine period (between March 18th and March 31st 2020), the hybrid telehealth medical retina clinic performed 523 IVI to 394 patients with a mean age ± SD 70.96 ± 14.4 years. IVI were administered for neovascular age-related macular degeneration in 50.5% of the cases (199 patients), diabetic macular edema in 21.3% (84 patients), retinal vein occlusion in 17.5% (69 patients), and 10.7% for other retinal pathologies (42 patients). No ocular or systemic complications were observed.

Conclusion: During disasters and pandemics, IVI can be provided safely using a hybrid telehealth medical retina clinic approach but only in the appropriate patient and health care system.

Keywords: COVID-19; hybrid telehealth medical retina clinic; intravitreal injections; ophthalmology; telemedicine.