Impact of COVID-19 on outpatient visits and intravitreal treatments in a referral retina unit: let’s be ready for a plausible “rebound effect”

Enrico Borrelli, Domenico Grosso, Giovanna Vella, Riccardo Sacconi, Lea Querques, Ilaria Zucchiatti, Francesco Prascina, Francesco Bandello, Giuseppe Querques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To quantify the shrinking in outpatient and intravitreal injections’ volumes in a tertiary referral retina unit secondary to virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Methods: In this retrospective cross-sectional study, we reviewed the charts of all patients who had a visit at a medical retina referral center during the Italian quarantine (from 9th of March 2020 to 3rd of May 2020). Number and characteristics of these data were compared with data from the same period in 2019 (from 9th of March 2019 to 3rd of May 2019). Results: In the 2019 study period, there were 303 patients attending clinic (150 males, 153 females). In the 2020 study period, patients decreased to 75 (48 males, 27 females; P = 0.022 comparing gender prevalence between the two periods) with an overall reduction of 75.2%. Mean ± SD age was 71.4 ± 14.3 years (range 25–93 years) in the 2019 study period and 66.7 ± 13.1 years (range 32–91 years) in the 2020 study period (P = 0.005). The largest drop in outpatient volume was recorded in AMD patients (− 79.9%). Regarding the intravitreal treatments, there were 1252 injections in the 2019 period and 583 injections in the 2020 period (− 53.6% in injections). The drop in intravitreal treatments was larger in patients with posterior uveitis, retinal vein occlusion, and diabetes (− 85.7%, − 61.9%, and − 59.6%, respectively). Conclusion: The volume of outpatient visits and intravitreal injections declined during the COVID-19 quarantine. The short- and long-term impacts are that routine in-person visits and intravitreal injections are expected to increase after the quarantine and, even more, after the pandemic. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2655-2660
Number of pages6
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Intravitreal injections
  • Outpatient visits
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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