Effect of COVID-19-related lockdown on ophthalmic practice in Italy: A report from 39 institutional centers

on behalf of the Eyecare in Italy during COVID-19 pandemic (EICO) study group, Roberto dell’Omo, Mariaelena Filippelli, Gianni Virgili, Francesco Bandello, Giuseppe Querques, Paolo Lanzetta, Teresio Avitabile, Francesco Viola, Michele Reibaldi, Francesco Semeraro, Luciano Quaranta, Stanislao Rizzo, Edoardo Midena, Giuseppe Campagna, Ciro Costagliola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/objectives: To compare the number of eye surgical procedures performed in Italy in the 2 months following the beginning of lockdown (study period) because of COVID-19 epidemic with those performed in the two earlier months of the same year (intra-year control) and in the period of 2019 corresponding to the lockdown (inter-year control). Methods: Retrospective analysis of surgical procedures carried out at 39 Academic hospitals. A distinction was made between elective and urgent procedures. Intravitreal injections were also considered. Percentages for all surgical procedures and incidence rate ratios (IRR) for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) events were calculated. A p value <0.05 was considered significant. Results: A total of 20,886 versus 55,259 and 56,640 patients underwent surgery during the lockdown versus intra-and inter-year control periods, respectively. During the lockdown, only 70% of patients for whom an operation/intravitreal injection was recommended, finally underwent surgery; the remaining patients did not attend because afraid of getting infected at the hospital (23%), taking public transportation (6.5%), or unavailable swabs (0.5%). Elective surgeries were reduced by 96.2% and 96.4%, urgent surgeries by 49.7% and 50.2%, and intravitreal injections by 48.5% and 48.6% in the lockdown period in comparison to intra-year and inter-year control periods, respectively. IRRs for RRDs during lockdown dropped significantly in comparison with intra- and inter-year control periods (CI: 0.65–0.80 and 0.61–0.75, respectively, p < 0.001 for both). Conclusion: This study provides a quantitative analysis of the reduction of eye surgical procedures performed in Italy because of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-703
JournalEuropean Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • choroidal neovascular membranes
  • corneal transplantation
  • glaucoma
  • phacoemulsification
  • retinal detachment
  • Trauma
  • venous occlusive disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of COVID-19-related lockdown on ophthalmic practice in Italy: A report from 39 institutional centers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this