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May 4, 2020

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

Author Affiliations
  • 1American Academy of Ophthalmology, San Francisco, California
JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online May 4, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.2004

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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