Role of Ophthalmologists during CORONA Epidemic/Pandemic in Karnataka

Dear Doctor,

Karnataka has 6.5 crore people and 3000 plus ophthalmologists in the state that come in contact with 3% of the population, EVERYDAY !!!

3000 Ophthalmologists of Karnataka seeing on an average of 25 patients per day, each coming with one relative and using a transport to reach the clinic and later interacting with a pharmacist and each clinic having a staff strength of 5………we, as a group, will be exposing to nearly 3% of population of state each day.

Eye clinic/hospitalTotal Exposure Interactions
Doctors

3000

Staff ( Ave 5 per doctor )

15000

Eye care professionals

Add these two

18000

Parients per doctor

25

Attendent+Transport+Misc : 3 per patient

75

Population getting in contact with eye clinic

Add these two

100

18000X100

18,00,000
Family members of each of these

3

We are having an unprecedented medical situation which if not contained may become chaotic and may touch very Indian, in one way or the other.

Containing the VIRUS SPREAD is the ONLY visible option as of now. Acting ON TIME is the key to success.

The mortality rates are less if medical facilities are provided but considering the size of our population ( and the indiscipline in ‘self quarantine’ ), within a short time our medical facilities will fall short and hence mortalities as well as consequent back lashes ( on medical fraternity )will increase.

Due to lack of adequate protective gear, even medical professionals and their families will be at greater risk till such gear becomes easily available

As on date, the numbers are in double digits in Karnataka. The govt has acted swiftly and created an environment of awareness leading to reduced movement of people. Any movement that can be avoided must be avoided…. By every one, no exceptions, even we are included in this.

In this direction, as responsible citizens and medical professionals, we can contribute in following ways…

Spread scientific awareness about COVID-19 through print and electronic media

Educate staff and colleagues regarding importance of reducing interactions per day to minimal required number ( interact ONLY if it is a must )

Many of our patients are 60 plus and also have co morbid conditions..the high risk population for COVID -19 morbidity/mortality. Stop their visits if it is not a medical emergency.

STOP all routine consultations ( the ones which can wait for 2 weeks or more ) for eye care. Refractions and routine periodic tests can certainly wait.

Provide advice and counselling over video chat or telephone ( not amounting to consultation, which is not legally accepted ) to those who need your advice.

Attend to all ophthalmic emergencies and post operative care with adequate precautions.

Screening is a must for all patients before examination in an eye care set up for fever/dry cough/sore throat/breathing difficulties. This helps in identification and proper referrals wrt COVID-19.

As medical professionals we may be called into serve the community in worst case scenario. Be ready. Hope our pro active measures will help avert this situation.

Take care of yourself and your family. You are an asset in the society

There will be financial implications and some road blocks. We need to act NOW to save our people from the wrath of COVID-19 becoming a community issue.

Together, we can and we must.

Thanking you for your co operation and joining the effort to contain COVID-19. With regards

Dr Rajashekar Y L President

Karnataka Ophthalmic Society

X