Macula service evaluation and assessing priorities for anti-VEGF treatment in the light of COVID-19.
Stone LG., Devenport A., Stratton IM., Talks JS.
PURPOSE: To assess the treatment position of all patients who have had an anti-VEGF injection in 2020, prior to the UK lockdown on 23 March. To assess methods of service quality evaluation in setting benchmarks for comparison after the situation stabilized. To consider what proportion could be delayed based on national guidelines and varying vision parameters. Finally, to measure how many patients actually attended. METHOD: A retrospective analysis of data collected from our electronic medical record was performed. Age, sex, reason for injection, visual acuity (VA) for both treated and untreated eyes and number of injections were recorded. The proportion of patients and eyes with ≥ 70 letters were calculated as an assessment of quality of service provision. The proportion of patients that could be delayed was estimated based on published guidelines and varying the parameters of difference between treated and untreated eyes. Finally, the number of patients who actually attended was recorded. RESULTS: About 3364 eyes (2229 neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD), 427 diabetic macular oedema (DMO), 599 retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and 109 other) from 2924 patients were analysed. At the last appointment with injection, 64.4% of patients achieved ≥ 70 letters in their better-seeing eye. Mean VA of the treated eye was 61.5 letters, and 36.9% achieved ≥ 70. The mean number of injections was 16, 90% with aflibercept. Of the patients receiving treatment to one eye, 57.6% was receiving treatment to their worse seeing eye. In 18.2% this eye was > 20 letters worse and in 5.07% > 40 letters worse than the untreated eye. Using Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) guidelines, (treat nAMD 8 weekly, delay majority of RVO and DMO) 24.8% would be delayed. From 2738 appointments during the first 4 weeks of lockdown (booked prior to lockdown), doctors rescheduled 1025 and patients did not attend 820, leaving 893 who were seen (33%). CONCLUSIONS: Assessing the treatment position of patients prior to COVID-19 lockdown enables objective stratification for prioritization for continued treatment. If RCOphth guidelines were followed 24.8% could be delayed and if treating the worse seeing eye up to 57.6%. Many scheduled patients elected not to attend, with 67% not seen in the first 4 weeks. The impact of non-attendance and delays may be evaluated later.