Eye Exams and Procedures Delayed by COVID-19 Could Result in Vision Loss
If you had to cancel your eye procedure or eye exam due to COVID-19, you should reschedule your appointment as soon as possible. Delaying annual eye exams can result in later diagnoses of glaucoma, which causes blindness, and cataracts, which can be easily treated by undergoing cataract surgery.
A recent U.S. study revealed that during the initial months of the pandemic, of all medical service lines, ophthalmology had the greatest patient volume loss. In an analysis of more than 2 million patient visits and encounters from 228 hospitals in 40 states, the study, released by Strata Decision Technology, showed ophthalmology lost 81 percent of patient volume year-over-year when comparing two-week volumes in March and April 2020 versus the same period in 2019.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States. About 3.6 million cataract surgeries take place annually. The study found cataract surgery volume decreased by 97 percent, the largest reduction of any surgical procedure. Glaucoma procedures dropped by 88 percent for inpatient and outpatient procedures.
Many Americans have also had their comprehensive eye exams canceled in the past several months. If you missed an eye exam and have had to reschedule, it is important to keep the rescheduled appointment. Millions of patients will be calling to make appointments for comprehensive eye exams this month, so it will only get more difficult to see your eye doctor.
What Can I Do While I am Waiting for Surgery?
If you are waiting for your eye procedure to be rescheduled, you may have to ask for help from family members and friends, while taking precautions to protect against COVID-19. It is easier for loved ones to help you if you provide them with specific requests. You may want to ask people to help you with:
- House cleaning
- Lawn and yard care
- Driving you to and from your eye appointments and doctor appointments
Call your eye doctor today to reschedule your eye procedure or eye exam.