RI launch COVID-19 Survey

Like so many health disciplines, ophthalmology is experiencing immense challenges with respect to the provision of and access to essential care and services, as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Retina International wishes to develop a comprehensive understanding of the impact COVID-19 is having on the retina community by considering the perspectives of all people, organisations and healthcare providers who are directly affected.

This includes patients who may be newly diagnosed and seeking counselling supports for their condition, or those relying on regular treatment intervals to manage their condition. Additionally, it is crucial that we gain an insight into the challenges facing our member patient organisations and how the current situation has affected their capacity to provide essential services to its community, as well as their ability to continue to support research into forms of retinal dystrophy in these unprecedented times.

The opinions of optometrists, ophthalmologists and genetic counsellors, each of whom will have specific concerns relating to patient wellbeing, are also important to understand. These health care providers are currently working to guide plans and strategies to ensure the safe return of patients to the clinic, following the relaxation of lockdown measures.

To capture the impact and burden the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the retina community at large, Retina International has designed five bespoke surveys. Over the coming weeks, these surveys will generate the critical data required to help create a call to action to serve our community, and in particular:

1) The people living with retinal conditions through COVID-19
2) Our member patient organisations serving the retina community
3) Optometrists
4) Ophthalmologists
5) Genetic Counsellors

Through these surveys, RI aims to gather evidence to support a universal call to action which will address the urgent need for increased recognistion and greater consideration of access to care, treatment and rehabilitation services in the ophthalmic space.

This data will be made publically available for all to use, at local, regional, national and supranational level. Action taken on this data will help to generate policies and procedures to safeguard the retina community in the event of another global crisis such as this COVID-19 pandemic.

The first of these surveys, which will assess the impact of COVID-19 on our member patient organisations is now open and we invite you to share your experiences.

In addition to these surveys, Retina International are also engaging in a variety of other projects to highlight the unique challenges faced by the retina community at large at this time. These resources will be unveiled in the coming weeks for your benefit and so we encourage you to follow our weekly COVID-19 news bulletin for regular updates on their progress!

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