How Glaucoma Care Changed for the Better After the Pandemic

Kateki Vinod; Paul A. Sidoti


Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2022;33(2):59-66. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Purpose of Review: The current article reviews enhancements to the delivery of glaucoma care that developed in response to the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic and are likely to persist beyond its resolution.

Recent Findings: Literature from the review period (2020–2021) includes reports highlighting contributions of the ophthalmology community to global health during the pandemic. Glaucoma practices worldwide have instituted more robust infection control measures to mitigate severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 transmission in the outpatient setting, and many of these modifications will endure in the post-COVID era. Operational adjustments have led to the provision of more efficient glaucoma care. A hybrid care model involving technician-based diagnostic testing and subsequent virtual consultation with a glaucoma specialist has evolved as a useful adjunct to traditional face-to-face encounters with patients.

Summary: Glaucoma specialists, patients, and staff have adapted to a 'new normal' of glaucoma care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although innovation has propelled several improvements to glaucoma care during this global health crisis, significant barriers to more widespread implementation of teleglaucoma still exist. Whether, and in what capacity, the pandemic has permanently altered glaucoma practice patterns remains to be seen.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in 198 227 874 infections and 4223 255 deaths worldwide and 34 997 105 infections and 613 223 deaths in the United States as of 1 August 2021.[1] The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused unprecedented devastation, not only in the toll of lives lost and enduring morbidity among survivors, but also its impact on the economy and society at large. The magnitude of this global health crisis is likely not yet fully realized. Fortunately, public health measures, including universal masking, hand hygiene, social distancing, and, more recently, vaccinations against COVID-19, have significantly reduced the rates of infection, hospitalization, and death in the United States.

While sanguinity in the face of such widespread tragedy is nearly inconceivable, the pandemic has redefined the role of the ophthalmologist in medicine and transformed the delivery of ophthalmic, and specifically glaucoma, care. Herein, we highlight the ophthalmology community's contributions to the global fight against COVID-19 and review those aspects of glaucoma care that may have changed for the better after the pandemic.