The pandemic has changed the way ophthalmologists treat and manage patients with uveitis, according to a panel discussion at the virtual American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting. Some of the challenges COVID-19 introduced are logistic. One solution is taping patients’ masks.
“There’s been some discussion back and forth, but I have found that taping the patient’s mask not only makes me feel more comfortable with any kind of local injections ... but also really facilitates your exam at the slit lamp,” Pauline T. Merrill, MD, said. “My super field is no longer just a total fog every time I try to examine the macula.” In addition to masks for patients, PPE for staff and proper sanitation are essential to maintaining safety.
“It takes longer to see [patients] because we don’t want a crowded waiting area,” Emmett T. Cunningham Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, said. “We are very meticulous about personal protective equipment, and so that takes more time and we’re more thoughtful.” Cunningham added that his practice sees patients who are COVID-19 positive “on an emergency basis only.” Treatment and medication decisions are another facet of uveitis management during COVID-19.
“For people who have chronic, slow-moving disease that is not likely to be visually threatening over the next year or two, I have been more likely to use local therapy,” Janet Louise Davis, MD, said. “But for somebody who has severe uveitis, I think you have to do whatever it takes to get the uveitis quiet, and that would come under the category of sight threatening.”
Source: Srivastava SK, et al. Uveitis panel discussion. Presented at: American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting; Nov. 13-15, 2020 (virtual meeting), Healio