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IMR Press / FBE / Volume 13 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.52586/E883
22
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Open Access Original Research
The influence of COVID-19 lockdowns on presentation with spontaneous posterior vitreous detachment to the emergency department in Italy
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1 Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
2 Department of Ophthalmology, Azienda Sanitaria “Friuli Occidentale”, 33170 Pordenone, Italy
*Correspondence: mark.zeppieri@asufc.sanita.fvg.it (Marco Zeppieri)
Front. Biosci. (Elite Ed) 2021, 13(2), 259–271; https://doi.org/10.52586/E883
Submitted: 11 May 2021 | Revised: 9 August 2021 | Accepted: 13 October 2021 | Published: 20 December 2021
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Abstract

The purpose of the study was to analyze the frequency of the spontaneous posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) in patients admitted to an Emergency Eye Department in Italy (EED) during the COVID-19 pandemic national lockdown in 2020 compared with the similar time period in 2019. In this retrospective observational study, patient records for ophthalmology EED patients in the month of April 2020 during the COVID-19 Italian national lockdown, were compared with those for an equivalent one-month period in 2019. Diagnoses, gender, and age were assessed. Unpaired Student t-tests were used for continuous variables. Poisson regression was used for count analysis to compare categorical variables. Chi-square test was applied to asses proportion differences. In comparison with the 2019 equivalent period, there was a significant decrease in the overall number of EED visits and in the number of patients presenting with a spontaneous PVD during the 2020 lockdown (–41.6% and –49%, respectively). During the 2020 lockdown, all diagnostic categories showed less patient admittance, however, the proportions remained stable when considering the entire cohort. The proportion of urgent visits was 90% in 2020 and 86% in 2019 (p = 0.66). The proportion of EED patients affected by spontaneous PVD was comparable between the two study periods (8.4% in 2020 vs. 9.6% in 2019, p = 0.34). Patients presenting with spontaneous PVD in both periods were significantly older when compared to patients with other pathologies (mean age of 63years in 2020 and 64years in 2019, p $<$ 0.001). There was a significant bias in female gender (61.2% in 2019 and 60% in 2020, p $<$ 0.05). There was a significant decrease of accesses to the EED during COVID-19 2020 lockdown. Patients affected by spontaneous PVD were about 50% less compared with the same period of 2019. Risk factors for the development of spontaneous PVD were older age and female gender. PVD represents a potentially visual function threatening condition because it can cause retinal ruptures and retinal detachment. Patients need to be educated to get urgent ophthalmic assessments in the presence of important acute signs and symptoms, like floaters and flashes, even in the presence of a lockdown.

Keywords
Spontaneous posterior vitreous detachment
COVID-19
Pandemic
Photopsia
Myodesopsia
Emergency eye department
Retinal detachment
Figures
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