Early-Phase Perceptions of COVID-19’s Impact on Ophthalmology Practice Patterns: A Survey from the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology

Francisco Javier Bonilla-Escobar, Daniel Sánchez-Cano, Andres F. Lasave, Jaime Soria, Valentina Franco-Cárdenas, Victor E. Reviglio, Paulo E.C. Dantas, Claudia Palacio Pastrana, Juan Carlos Corbera, Rita Yee Chan, Alberto Luis Diaz, Milton Garcia Hernandez, Mauricio Maia, Cristian Carpentier, Lihteh Wu, Martin Sanchez, Marcelo Murillo Sasamoto, Gonzalo Murillo Azcárraga, Jose A. Roca, Martin A. SerranoArturo A. Alezzandrini, Juan Gonzalo Sanchez Montoya, Gregorio Gabela, Gerardo Garcia-Aguirre, J. Fernando Arevalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ogy practices in Latin America has not yet been explored. We aimed to assess the perceptions about the pandemic from countries’ ophthalmological national and subspecialty retina societies affiliated to the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO). Patients and Methods: A survey-based study of leaders of national ophthalmological and retinal societies was conducted. The survey was sent by email to 30 societies, from which 20 responded (12 countries, 66.6% response rate). It included closed-and open-ended questions about (1) operational capacity and precautions, (2) telemedicine and virtual care, (3) procedures, and (4) post-pandemic considerations. Results: There was a marked decline in ophthalmology patient visits (80–95%) and elective surgeries (90%) during 2020 compared to before the pandemic. Precautions like temperature checks, mask usage, and social distancing were widely implemented while personal protective equipment (PPE) availability varied. Telemedicine use was limited due to lack of experience with it. Reopening plans focused on maintaining precautions and gradually resuming activities. Economic and security concerns were raised, and adherence to guidelines was emphasized. Respondents acknowledged the need to adapt to a “new normal”. Long duration drugs, fewer imaging studies, and shorter wait times were preferred; however, availability of long duration drugs was limited. Conclusion: The pandemic impacted ophthalmology in Latin America, with reduced patient visits, procedures, and surgeries. Delayed treatment and complications were likely the result of the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3249-3259
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Ophthalmology
StatePublished - 2023


  • COVID-19
  • international agencies
  • medical societies
  • ophthalmology
  • pandemics
  • retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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