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Preventive Practices of Ophthalmologists During COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors Syed AAO, Jahan S, Aldahlawi AA, Alghazzawi EA

Received 12 December 2020

Accepted for publication 23 February 2021

Published 23 March 2021 Volume 2021:15 Pages 1267—1275


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Amjad Ali Omar Syed,1 Saulat Jahan,2 Alaa Ali Aldahlawi,1 Eihab Ali Alghazzawi1

1Ophthalmology Department, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Ministry of Health, Buraidah, Qassim, Saudi Arabia; 2Research & Innovation Unit, Family Medicine Academy, Buraidah, Qassim, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Amjad Ali Omar Syed
Ophthalmology Department, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, PO Box 2290, Buraidah, Saudi Arabia
Tel +966 502668450
Email [email protected]

Purpose: To explore ophthalmologists’ preventive practices, and their perceived seriousness and perceived risk of transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Methods: In a cross-sectional study, a semi-structured questionnaire was distributed online among ophthalmologists. Questions about COVID-19 infection, perceived seriousness, perceived risk of transmission, and recommended COVID-19 preventive practices were asked. Based on the adoption of a preventive measure and its frequency, a maximum preventive score of 25 was computed.
Results: Among 126 respondents, the mean±SD age was 45.3± 10.9 years, and 57.9% worked in a tertiary care hospital. Regarding preventive practices, 96.8% of ophthalmologists wore face masks, 89.6% avoided talking during the slit lamp examination, and 72.2% wore gloves during the ophthalmic examination. Availability of plastic barriers and regular disinfection of slit lamps were reported by 78.6% and 43.7% of ophthalmologists, respectively. The mean preventive score increased with increasing age (p=0.001), and was higher for males (18.96± 4.60) compared to females (17.81± 4.96). The mean score for perceived severity was higher (p< 0.0001) among ophthalmologists with more than 10 years of experience (8.76± 1.58) than those with experience of 10 years or less (7.49± 1.86). Out of 29 ophthalmologists who had been tested for COVID-19, 11 were found to be positive, giving an overall incidence of COVID-19 infection of 8.7%.
Conclusion: The ophthalmologists were generally compliant with recommended preventive measures. Some preventive measures, such as the wearing of gloves and regular disinfection of slit lamps, need improvement. We recommend creating awareness of and monitoring for COVID-19 infection control measures in healthcare settings.

Keywords: coronavirus, infection control, perceived risk, perceived seriousness, SARS-CoV-2, transmission

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