COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

April 02, 2020
2 min read
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AAO coronavirus website provides timely updates for ophthalmologists

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An American Academy of Ophthalmology website, “Important coronavirus updates for ophthalmologists,” has provided ophthalmologists with treatment considerations, breaking news and updated research on COVID-19 as it relates to ophthalmology since the virus began to spread.

Maintained and authored primarily by James Chodosh, MD, MPH, with assistance from Gary N. Holland, MD, and Steven Yeh, MD, the AAO coronavirus site shares new research developments and AAO treatment guidelines for the virus, Yeh said.

“The AAO coronavirus website provides timely information related to scientific evidence about clinical manifestations and eye findings, including conjunctivitis, which has been reported in approximately 1% of affected COVID-19 patients,” Yeh told Healio/OSN.

Chodosh and David W. Parke II, MD, initiated the website. Parke provides guidance related to AAO policy and advocacy for patients, physicians and the public, alongside leadership from other surgical and medical disciplines. “Dr. Chodosh brings a wealth of experience in public health and virology in interpretation of the latest evidence, and the entire AAO team, including Dr. Holland and myself, have been absorbing feedback to distill for AAO,” Yeh said.

Recent updates of the site include a recommendation from AAO encouraging ophthalmologists to cease providing treatment for all nonurgent, elective patients, which is aligned with CMS and federal guidance, and further discussion on topics of interest including personal protective equipment, vaccine trials for COVID-19, and anticipated evidence on the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients. While AAO has no opinion on the use of the therapies for these patients, a working group from the Asia-Pacific Vitreo-retina Society found the proposed doses of the drugs exceeded the maximum daily dose considered safe for long-term therapy.

AAO has also published a telemedicine resource on the site to encourage ophthalmologists to treat and communicate with their patients about their disease process while practicing social distancing.

“The pace of scientific evidence and purported evidence is very rapid, and it takes a team of multiple individuals to evaluate the feedback from the AAO community, consider the data being presented and, ultimately, provide a fair summary of the evidence. While we are eager for treatment and ways to improve the quality of life of patients with effective interventions, we want to ensure a balanced assessment of the literature,” Yeh said.

Contributions to the website, including a section for comments, ideas and suggestions, have been guided by feedback from AAO members, numerous physicians and tireless efforts of AAO staff.

“Ultimately, these actions will ensure that we can impact vision health for our patients, while also protecting the public and physician membership of AAO through timely updates,” Yeh said. – by Robert Linnehan

Disclosure: Yeh reports he is a consultant for Clearside Biomedical, Santen and Adverum.