Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Effect of COVID-19 pandemic on glaucoma surgical practices in the UK
  1. Lee Joseph Holland1,
  2. James F Kirwan2,
  3. Karl J Mercieca3,4
  1. 1 Glaucoma Unit, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Manchester, UK
  2. 2 Ophthalmology Department, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Portsmouth, UK
  3. 3 Glaucoma Unit, University Hospital Eye Clinic, Bonn, Germany
  4. 4 Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr Karl J Mercieca; Karl.mercieca{at}


Background/Aim The aim of the study was to examine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on glaucoma surgical practices within the UK.

Methods A cross-sectional online survey was distributed to all consultant glaucoma specialists who are on the UK and Eire Glaucoma Society contact list. Participants were asked specific questions regarding preferences in glaucoma surgical practices and whether these had changed subsequent to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results Trabeculectomy was the procedure of choice for 61 (87%) glaucoma specialists. A total of 51 (73%) respondents reported performing minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) procedures before the COVID-19 pandemic. The most commonly performed MIGS procedure was the iStent inject (51%), followed by XEN 45 (36%) and Preserflo (17%). Forty-three (61%) respondents reported modifying their glaucoma surgery practice subsequent to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the glaucoma specialists who modified their surgical practices, 21 (43%) specifically reduced the number of trabeculectomies performed. In combination, diode laser (both micropulse and conventional trans-scleral cyclodiode) was the most common alternative procedure. Glaucoma drainage devices, deep sclerectomy and Preserflo were also commonly chosen alternatives.

Conclusion Although trabeculectomy remains the most commonly performed established glaucoma surgery, it is being performed with reduced frequency during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the number of postoperative visits and procedures required. Alternatives such as conventional and micropulse diode laser, glaucoma drainage devices, deep sclerectomy and Preserflo appear to be the favoured alternative procedures.

  • glaucoma
  • COVID-19
  • treatment surgery
  • intraocular pressure

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

This article is made freely available for personal use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

View Full Text


  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published online. The author list has changed. James Kirwan is the second author while Karl Mercieca is now last author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

Linked Articles

  • Highlights from this issue
    Frank Larkin