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Fear Associated with COVID-19 in Patients with Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Authors Rozon JP, Hébert M, Bourgault S, Caissie M, Letartre L, Tourville E, Dirani A

Received 3 January 2021

Accepted for publication 19 February 2021

Published 16 March 2021 Volume 2021:15 Pages 1153—1161


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Jean-Philippe Rozon,1,2 Mélanie Hébert,2 Serge Bourgault,2 Mathieu Caissie,2 Laurence Letartre,2 Eric Tourville,2 Ali Dirani2

1Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada; 2Department of Ophthalmology, Centre Universitaire d’Ophtalmologie, CHU de Québec – Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada

Correspondence: Ali Dirani
Department of Ophthalmology, Hôpital du Saint-Sacrement, 1050 Ste-Foy Street, Quebec City, QC G1S 4L8, Canada
Tel +1 418 525-4444
Fax +1 418 682-7557
Email [email protected]

Purpose: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, news related to the pandemic has created a feeling of fear, particularly among high-risk groups including elderly patients. This study aimed to assess the fear associated with COVID-19 and to evaluate the fear of vision decrease related to the delay of treatment in neovascular age-related macular degeneration patients (nAMD) during the pandemic.
Patients and Methods: This is a prospective cross-sectional study of 160 actively treated patients with nAMD enrolled between September and November 2020 at a tertiary hospital in Québec, Canada. For each participant, demographic and clinical data were collected. The anxiety was rated in a questionnaire composed of two sections: the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) and eight additional questions to assess ophthalmology-related COVID-19 statements.
Results: The mean ± standard deviation level of FCV-19S was 17.05± 4.38. In the multivariable analysis, it was significantly higher in women (p< 0.001) and lower in patients with a high school education vs elementary school (p=0.009). In the ophthalmology-related statements, 16% feared vision loss because of difficulties in maintaining regular follow-ups during the pandemic. The female gender was significantly associated with a higher tendency to postpone their appointment (p=0.03). No association was found between the patients’ underlying disease characteristics and higher fear of vision loss.
Conclusion: Despite the massive impact of the pandemic, anxiety related to COVID-19 and delaying ophthalmology treatments remained relatively low in nAMD patients. Greater explanations to address this fear may reduce anxiety level, especially among female patients and those with an elementary school education.

Keywords: vision loss fear, fear assessment, Fear of COVID-19 Scale, anti-VEGF

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