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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on uveitis patient care

Abstract

Background The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed practice of medicine and patient care worldwide. The impact of the pandemic on patients with uveitis is unknown. We developed the COVID-19 Practice Patterns Study Group to evaluate the effect of the pandemic on uveitis patient care.

Methods This is a multicentre, cross-sectional survey of uveitis specialists practising worldwide. A web-based survey was distributed through the mailing lists of international uveitis societies to assess modifications in patient care, and use of immunomodulatory therapies (IMTs),aswell as considerations regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Results A diverse group consisting of 187 uveitis specialists from six continents participated in this survey. Most of these experts noted a disruption in clinical management of patients, including clinic closures or decrease in volume, patients missing in-person visits due to the fear of infection and difficulties obtaining laboratory testing. Most participants initiated (66.8%) and continued (93.3%) IMTs based on clinical presentation and did not modify their use of immunosuppressives. In cases of reported exposure to COVID-19 infection, most participants (65.3%) recommended no change in IMTs. However, 73.0% of the respondents did recommend holding all or select IMTs in case of COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 vaccine was recommended universally by almost all the specialists and 52% stated that they would counsel patients regarding the decreased immunogenicity and effectiveness of the vaccine in immunocompromised patients.

Conclusions Uveitis patient care has changed significantly since the beginning of the pandemic. The recommendations will continue to evolve as new data on IMTs and vaccination become available.

  • inflammation
  • eye (globe)

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Available upon request.

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