Evaluating perspective and quality of life of glaucoma patients during the COVID-19 pandemic in India: Results of a telephone survey

Indian J Ophthalmol. 2023 Feb;71(2):576-579. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1401_22.


Purpose: The past few years have been difficult in the lives of most glaucoma patients in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim was to find out patients' perspective and disruption of their quality of life during the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting a telephone survey among glaucoma patients.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving the glaucoma patients of a tertiary eye care hospital in India. Patients who had completed at least five years of follow-up before 2020 were randomized by a random number generator. A validated (forward-backward translation and completed pilot analysis) set of 14 questionnaires was administered to the patients, the latter of whom were telephonically interviewed by one of the investigators in February 2022. The entire data was audio-recorded. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 26 was used.

Results: Out of 1141 patients with >5 years of follow-up, 103 were selected by randomization. A large group of 46 patients (44.6%) admitted to glaucoma affecting their daily activities. Only 12 (11.6%) admitted to being irregular with their drops. Thirty-four (33%) patients felt that their glaucoma was deteriorating and 31 (30.1%) had fear of blindness. Ninety-five patients (92.7%) felt that they were safe under the care of the treating doctor. There were 46 (44.6%) out of 103 patients who did not turn up for follow-up for six months or more. Lockdown (36.2%) and travel-expenses (27.6%) were the two most common reasons for the loss to follow-up visits.

Conclusion: Nearly half of the long-term glaucoma patients were lost to follow-up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Glaucoma affecting daily lives and fear of losing vision turned out to be significant observations in the telephone survey. This fear seemed to be ameliorated by the majority still feeling safe by being in touch with their doctor for continued care even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; pandemic; patient perspectives; telephone survey.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Glaucoma* / epidemiology
  • Glaucoma* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Quality of Life
  • Telephone