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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 83-90

Changes in ophthalmological practice during the COVID-19 lockdown period

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Benha University, Benha, Egypt
2 Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Menoufia, Egypt
3 Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
MD Elham A Gad
Department of Ophthalmology, Benha University, Benha 13516
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/DJO.DJO_61_20

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Background To limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Egyptian Government had declared a national lockdown on March 24, 2020, with reduction of all governmental medical services. Aim The aim of this study was to investigate the changes in ophthalmological medical and surgical practice as well as the changes in learning during the COVID-19 lockdown. Patients and methods This is a cross-sectional study that included 263 working ophthalmologists from all over Egypt. They were asked to fill in a questionnaire about the changes in their clinical ophthalmic practice. The questionnaire was distributed as a Google form through e-mails and different social media platforms. Young ophthalmologists (<35 years) were compared with experienced ophthalmologists (>35 years) regarding the use of technology and E-learning during the lockdown of the pandemic. Ophthalmologists with private practice were compared with ophthalmologists without regarding the changes in real-life clinical practice during the same period. Results The mean age of the participants was 45.6±12.96 years (range=27.0–68 years). Overall, 67.3% were males, and 52.1% had a private practice either alone or with governmental practice. Most participants (86.7%) were still seeing patients during the lockdown. However, 96.2% of them decreased the number of their working days, and 94.3% decreased the number of patients. Approximately 47% of the participants stopped all surgeries, whereas 9.9% performed only emergency surgeries and 42.6% performed any type of surgery. All participants wore facial masks, 88.6% used breath shields, 55.5% wore gloves, and 59.7% started online consultations. Experienced ophthalmologists significantly attended more scientific webinars, whereas for young ophthalmologists, webinars were very useful medically but not helpful for their surgical skills. Conclusion The lockdown of COVID-19 did not stop ophthalmological practice in Egypt. It reduced the number of working days and the number of patients. All participants used different personal protective equipment, and more than half of them started online consultations. E-learning was very useful for young ophthalmologists but it did not help their surgical skills.

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