Postponed care due to COVID-19 lockdown impact on visual acuity of retinal vein occlusion patients: a large cohort

Ram Cohen, Reut Shor, Ori Segal, Eran Greenbaum, Anfisa Ayalon, Omer Trivizki, Shulamit Schwartz, Anat Loewenstein, Gilad Rabina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate the impact of postponed care attributed to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic lockdowns on visual acuity and the number of anti-VEGF injections in patients with retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Methods: A multicenter, retrospective study of consecutive RVO patients previously treated with anti-VEGF injections, which compared data from pre- (2019) and during (2020) COVID-19 lockdown period. Results: A total of 814 RVO patients with a mean age of 72.8 years met the inclusion criteria. Of them, 439 patients were assessed in 2019 and 375 in 2020. There was no significant difference between the COVID-19 and pre-COVID-19 period in terms of baseline and final BCVA (p = 0.7 and 0.9 respectively), but there was a significantly reduced mean number of anti-VEGF injections during the COVID-19 period (5.0 and. 5.9 respectively, p < 0.01), with a constant lower ratio of injections per patient. A noticeable decline was found during March–May (p < 0.01) in 2020. Baseline BCVA (0.69, p < 0.01) and the number of injections (− 0.01, p = 0.01) were predictors of final BCVA. Conclusions: In a large cohort of RVO patients, during 2020 lockdowns imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant reduction in the annual number of anti-VEGF injections was noted. The postponed care did not result in a significant impact on the final BCVA. Baseline BCVA and the number of annual injections serve as predictors for final BCVA in RVO patients. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Keywords

  • Anti-VEGF
  • COVID 19
  • Injections
  • Lockdown
  • RVO

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