Effect of COVID-19 on Glaucoma Appointments in the Philippines
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic impact on healthcare services globally, with existing health conditions like glaucoma being further exacerbated. Glaucoma patients in the Philippines have experienced significant challenges in maintaining appointments and receiving consistent healthcare amidst the pandemic. This article aims to provide an insightful look into the problems faced by glaucoma patients, changes in the treatment process, and future prospects for glaucoma care.
II. The Pre-COVID Scenario
Before the pandemic, glaucoma patients in the Philippines had access to regular appointments at eye care centers and hospitals, with most facilities providing in-person monitoring, diagnosing, and treatment. The Philippine healthcare system, while managing to address the needs of glaucoma patients, struggled with accessibility due to socioeconomic disparities and geographical challenges.
III. COVID-19 and Glaucoma Treatment
The onset of COVID-19 led to a considerable decline in glaucoma appointments in the Philippines, as medical resources were redirected to pandemic response and patients faced difficulties in obtaining healthcare due to lockdowns, transportation issues and fear of infection. This decline has resulted in delays in diagnoses, treatment, and monitoring of the condition, putting glaucoma patients at risk of irreversible vision loss.
IV. Changes in Glaucoma Treatment During COVID
During the pandemic, the treatment process has shifted from physical appointments to the utilization of telehealth services for glaucoma patients. Telehealth overcomes challenges such as lack of transportation and minimizes the risk of exposure to COVID-19. However, there are limitations to this approach, including the inadequacy of a virtual platform for certain essential procedures, such as eye pressure tests and visual field exams, and internet connectivity issues in remote regions of the country.
V. Strategies and Adaptations: The New Normal
Healthcare providers and organizations in the Philippines have implemented strategies to ensure continued glaucoma care during these challenging times. Some of the key strategies include:
- Prioritization of urgent cases while rescheduling routine check-ups
- Promotion of telehealth services whenever possible
- Implementation of strict safety protocols in healthcare facilities to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission
Patients have been encouraged to utilize telehealth services for consultations, medication adjustments, and follow-up care, while in-person visits are reserved for critical cases or essential procedures that cannot be conducted remotely.
VI. The Future of Glaucoma Treatment Post-COVID
Though it is uncertain when the pandemic will end, healthcare experts believe that some of the changes made during COVID-19 may have a long-lasting impact. The use of telehealth may continue to grow for specific aspects of glaucoma care that do not require physical presence. Furthermore, healthcare professionals may continue to observe strict safety protocols in their practices even after the pandemic. Finally, the pandemic has highlighted the need for a more robust and accessible healthcare system to cater to the demands of patients with chronic conditions like glaucoma.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected glaucoma patients in the Philippines, but healthcare professionals and patients have been resilient in adapting to new ways of managing the condition. It is crucial that patients continue to maintain regular appointments even amidst the crisis, utilizing telehealth services whenever possible, while adhering to the recommended COVID-19 preventive measures. If you found this article helpful, please share it with others who may benefit from the information. Make sure to stay updated and follow your healthcare provider’s guidelines in managing glaucoma during these unprecedented times.