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Ophthalmology After Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)Transition Back to Patient Care

Educational Objective
To understand how COVID-19 has affected the practice of Ophthalmology
1 Credit CME

By mid-March of 2020, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had upended the professional world of ophthalmologists. It can be argued that the United States should have heeded more effectively the experiences of China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy and entered the pandemic in a less frenetic fashion, but that is not the way it happened. On February 1, 2020, there were 8 US confirmed cases, and 1 month later there were only 30. By March 18, there were 10 442 confirmed cases.1 On that day, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, following advice from the US Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued the following guidance language: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Academy of Ophthalmology now finds it essential that all ophthalmologists cease providing any treatment other than urgent or emergent care immediately.”2 It went on to state “All other factors—business, finance, inconvenience, etc.—are remotely secondary. This is an existential crisis.”

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: David W. Parke II, MD, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 655 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (dparke@aao.org).

Published Online: May 4, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.2004

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Parke serves as the chief executive officer of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

References
1.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the US. Accessed April 12, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html#cumulative
2.
American Academy of Ophthalmology. Recommendations for urgent and nonurgent patient care. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://www.aao.org/headline/new-recommendations-urgent-nonurgent-patient-care
3.
American Academy of Ophthalmology. Your COVID-19 experience drives academy efforts on your behalf. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://www.aao.org/about/governance/academy-blog/post/your-covid-19-experience-drives-academy-efforts
4.
American Association of Nurse Practitioners. COVID-19 state emergency response: temporarily suspended and waived practice agreement requirements. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://www.aanp.org/advocacy/state/covid-19-state-emergency-response-temporarily-suspended-and-waived-practice-agreement-requirements
5.
Kimberling  RC . These changes could mobilize key medical personnel to fight a pandemic. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://thehill.com/opinion/education/491440-these-changes-could-mobilize-key-medical-personnel-to-fight-a-pandemic
6.
American Academy of Ophthalmology. Academy, federal agencies issue new telehealth guidance in light of COVID-19. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://www.aao.org/eye-on-advocacy-article/academy-federal-agencies-issue-telehealth-guidance
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