J Med Assoc Thai 2023; 106 (5):467-75

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Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Number, Clinical Characteristics, Surgical Types, and Anatomical Outcome of Patients with Primary Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment during and after COVID-19 Lockdown in Thailand
Somboonthanakij S Mail, Chanwimol K , Jiaranaisilawong P

Background: During lockdown in 2020 from the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) has been affected in several aspects including prevalence alteration, delayed presentations, and poorer treatment outcomes. These effects are unknown after lockdown by comparing with the preceding year.

Objective: To determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the number, clinical characteristics, type of surgical procedure, and anatomical outcome of primary RRD during and after lockdown compared with those parameters in the same periods of the previous year.

Materials and Methods: In the present retrospective cohort study, the medical records of patients with primary RRD underwent retinal surgery at Mettapracharak Hospital during and after the first lockdown in 2020 and the corresponding period in 2019 were reviewed. These four periods had an equal number of days as the first lockdown period. The following data were analyzed, baseline demographics, initial clinical presentations, type of surgical procedure, and outcome.

Results: Four hundred fifty-five patients, for 455 eyes, underwent surgery for primary RRD. One hundred seven patients were treated during lockdown, 106 patients after lockdown, whereas 117 patients and 125 patients were treated in identical periods in the previous year, respectively. A decrease of 8.5% of RRD cases during lockdown and of 15.2% of RRD cases post-lockdown were documented. No significant differences were found with respect to demographic features, clinical characteristics, type of surgical procedure, or the anatomical single surgery success rate of RRD patients among all time periods. However, a significantly lower prevalence of right-eye involvement and shorter waiting time for surgery after lockdown were documented.

Conclusion: The authors revealed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the reduction in the number of surgical procedures for primary RRD during and after lockdown. Our findings could aid redefinition of a strategic plan for RRD management after the COVID-19 pandemic had subsided.

Keywords: Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment; COVID-19; Pandemic; Lockdown; Tertiary hospital; Eye

DOI: 10.35755/jmedassocthai.2023.05.13786

Received 13 February 2023 | Revised 23 March 2023 | Accepted 28 March 2023

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