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Preserving Vision in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Focus on Health Equity

Authors Mike EV, Laroche D

Received 13 May 2020

Accepted for publication 3 July 2020

Published 22 July 2020 Volume 2020:14 Pages 2073—2077

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S262586

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Elise V Mike,1 Daniel Laroche2,3

1Medical Scientist Training Program, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA; 2Department of Ophthalmology, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA; 3Department of Ophthalmology, Advanced Eyecare of New York, New York, NY, USA

Correspondence: Daniel Laroche
Advanced Eye Care of New York, 49 West 127th Street, New York, NY 10027, USA
Tel +1 212 663 0473
Fax +1 917 493-1010
Email dlarochemd@aol.com

Abstract: The coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has overwhelmed our healthcare systems and caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. Black and Hispanic individuals comprise a disproportionate number of those deaths, primarily because of pre-existing health conditions such as hypertension, obesity, and asthma. Health inequities that underlie these disparities also exist within ophthalmology around the world, and more ophthalmologists should advocate for healthcare reform that advances health equity. Immediate actions to reduce health disparities in ophthalmology during the pandemic include taking time to ensure all ophthalmology leadership and industry is diversified with people reflecting the fabric of their countries, embracing telemedicine to increase access to medical care, and advocating for legislation that will increase health insurance coverage during this unprecedented time. Longitudinal actions include recognizing structural racism as a root cause of health inequity and actively rejecting it through addressing modifiable risk factors, increasing cultural competency training, promoting diversity in the workforce, and global leadership.

Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, health equity, health disparities

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