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A Year of Living Dangerously: Challenges and Recommendations for Safely Performing Ophthalmic Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic, from Start to Finish

Authors Salica JP, Potilinski C, Querci M, Navarro I, Rivero JS, Daponte P, Pineda ll R, Gallo JE

Received 23 September 2020

Accepted for publication 10 December 2020

Published 22 January 2021 Volume 2021:15 Pages 261—278

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S283327

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Juan Pablo Salica,1– 3 Constanza Potilinski,3 Marcia Querci,4 Ignacio Navarro,3 Juan Sebastián Rivero,1 Pablo Daponte,1 Roberto Pineda ll,5 Juan E Gallo2,3

1Committee for Prevention of Ocular Infections, Argentinean Ophthalmology Council, Buenos Aires, Argentina; 2Department of Ophthalmology, Hospital Universitario Austral, Pilar, Buenos Aires, Argentina; 3Nanomedicine & Vision Lab, Instituto de Investigaciones en Medicina Traslacional, Universidad Austral, CONICET, Pilar, Buenos Aires, Argentina; 4Division of Infectious Diseases, Centro de Educación Médica e Investigaciones Clínicas Norberto Quirno (CEMIC), Buenos Aires, Argentina; 5Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Correspondence: Juan Pablo Salica
Consejo Argentino de Oftalmología, Tte. Gral. Juan D. Perón 1479, PB. Zip Code C1037ACA, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Email jp.salica@gmail.com

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all nations to take an active role in infection control incorporating recommendations and measures to control viral dissemination. The epidemiological impact is very diverse and dynamic, even within the same region. Scientific knowledge regarding SARS-CoV-2 continues to improve every day with protocols needing to be updated and adjusted on a regular basis. Ophthalmology is a medical specialty identified to be at high risk for several reasons: it has very close doctor-patient contact, the virus has been detected in tears, and the ocular surface serves as a gateway to developing the infection. We have reviewed the current information on SARS-CoV-2 in the ophthalmologic field and provide up-to-date recommendations to help create protocols that can adapt to the dynamic situation of ophthalmologic institutions, patient cases, economic situations and access to diagnostic tests. This paper outlines the main recommendations regarding the initial consultation and outpatient clinics, measures to apply in the operating room (OR), and suggestions for post-surgical controls. Triage, according to the patient’s conditions and eye pathology, reduction of the time the patient is at the institution, social distancing, correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE), barrier methods, hygiene, as well as other recommendations mentioned in this document, will allow physicians to take care of the visual health of the patients while reducing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, ophthalmology, eye, surgery

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