Pediatric cataract surgery practices in the COVID-19 era: Perspectives of a tertiary care institute in Northern India

Indian J Ophthalmol. 2021 May;69(5):1284-1287. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_3678_20.

Abstract

Purpose: To discuss the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the pediatric cataract surgery services in a tertiary care institute in India, as well as the protocol followed for these surgeries.

Methods: COVID-19 has hampered outpatient and elective services and surgeries throughout the world. During the national lockdown imposed in March in India, outpatient services were suspended in our institute, leading to a tremendous backlog of pediatric patients with cataract. Since the delay in surgery in pediatric cataract can cause amblyopia, our institute had resumed pediatric cataract surgeries in June 2020 at the time of Unlock-1 in the country.

Results: We have discussed the percentage of reduction in pediatric cataract surgeries in 2020 during the Unlock 1, 2, 3, and 4, as compared to the number of surgeries done by the pediatric ophthalmology unit in the same months last year. We had introduced triage and telemedicine in our department. We have discussed the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative protocol followed in our institute for children with pediatric cataract, and also the measures which can be taken for the safety of patients and staff.

Conclusion: It is essential to ensure COVID-19 protocol, i.e., wearing a mask, social distancing, and frequent hand hygiene, among the patients and health care personnel. Redesigning pediatric cataract surgery practices is essential to ensure the safety of the health care workers and the patients.

Keywords: COVID-19 protocol for pediatric cataract; Challenges in pediatric cataract; pediatric cataract in COVID-19.