COVID-19 and its impact on eyecare: a review (C-100388)

7 July 2021
Volume 22, Issue 2

COVID-19 and its impact on eyecare: a review

Domains covered

Communication Clinical practice


SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, has led to a global pandemic. Although primarily thought of as a respiratory illness, ocular manifestations have also been reported with other symptoms. The pandemic has led to many challenges for both patients and eyecare practitioners (ECPs). During the early stages of the pandemic, access to healthcare was limited, and many routine appointments were either postponed or cancelled unless urgent eyecare was required. ECPs have shown agility, flexibility and innovation in adapting to cope with the challenges imposed, adapting environments and eyecare management in both primary and secondary care. Infection control safeguards were put in place in line with government guidance.

The World Health Organization declared conjunctivitis a ‘less common’ symptom of COVID-19 in early 2020. There is now more evidence of the type and duration of ocular symptoms linked to COVID-19. There is also evidence of changes in the behaviour of patients, including the use of contact lenses (CLs) and seeking help for eye problems, as this might have potentially increased their exposure to COVID-19 if hospital attendance was required. The pandemic also led to increased use of remote consultations, which has been positively received by patients and ECPs alike.

This article reviews the literature surrounding eyecare and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients and ECPs. It is to be appreciated that this is a fast-changing field, and more research and data will likely be available after the publication of this paper. 

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