Wills Eye: Ocular Trauma and COVID-19
Delayed presentation, longer distances to treatment centers, less insurance coverage – our patients face a host of new challenges in a pandemic
Connie Wu, Samir N. Patel, Thomas L. Jenkins, Anthony Obeid, Allen C. Ho and Yoshihiro Yonekawa, specialists at Wills Eye Hospital, Mid Atlantic Retina and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia
Nationwide stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic have caused serious issues for patients seeking emergency care. We conducted an investigation into the patients seeking urgent ophthalmic care for severe ocular injuries (1). We reviewed health records at the Wills Eye Emergency Room – one of the few 24/7 Emergency Departments exclusively dedicated to treating eye emergencies in the country – and found significant differences between the quarantine period and a comparable time period from the prior year.
Even though the overall number of patients presenting for emergency eye evaluations during the stay-at-home orders decreased, the number of severe ocular trauma patients remained unchanged. Compared with the previous year, patients who presented with severe ocular injuries during the pandemic were more likely to travel further to seek emergency care, more likely to have a delayed presentation after injury, and more likely to have suffered ocular trauma at home.
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