Ophthalmology in the time of COVID-19: Experience from Hong Kong Eye Hospital

Cheung S.S.L.,
Wong C.Y.K.,
Chan J.C.K.,
Chan C.K.M.,
Lam N.M.,
Yuen H.K.L.,
Wong V.W.Y.,
Tsang C.W.,
Tham C.C.Y.
Document Type
Source Title
International Journal of Ophthalmology
International Journal of Ophthalmology (c/o Editorial Office)


AIM: To review international guidelines and to share our infection control experience during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic at a tertiary eye centre in Hong Kong. METHODS: Infection control guidelines and recommendations from international ophthalmological bodies are reviewed and discussed. The measures at our hospital were drawn up as per international and local health authorities' guidelines and implemented with the collaboration of doctors, nurses and administrative staff. RESULTS: The aims of our infection control measures are to 1) minimize cross-infection within the hospital; 2) protect and support hospital staff; 3) ensure environmental control. To minimize the risk of cross-infection, outpatient attendance and elective surgery have been reduced by 40%, and general anesthesia procedures were reduced by 90%. Patients entering the hospital are screened for fever, travel history, contact and cluster history, and COVID-19 related symptoms. To protect and support hospital staff, we ensure provision of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and provide clear guidelines on the level of PPE needed, depending on the clinical situation. Other protective measures include provision of work uniforms, easy access to alcohol-based hand rub, opening new lunch areas, implementation of self-monitoring and self-reporting systems, and communication via online education and updates. Finally, environmental control is achieved by ensuring regular disinfection of the hospital premise, enhancing ventilation, and usage of disposable ophthalmic instruments. CONCLUSION: Our multi-pronged approach to infection control is, so far, successful in minimizing infection risks, while allowing the maintenance of essential ophthalmic services. © 2020 International Journal of Ophthalmology (c/o Editorial Office). All rights reserved.

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