PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the clinical features of pre-pandemic and pandemic patients who had elective cataract surgery in our hospital.
METHODS: This study is a retrospective study. Cataract surgeries performed in our clinic between March 2019 and June 2021 were screened. Patient’s age, gender, eye laterality, cataract type, preoperatively best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) in the eye with a cataract, pseudoexfoliation, and other compelling factors for surgery were noted. Considering that there was no elective cataract surgery in our hospital between March 2020 and June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 1-year data before March 2020 and 1-year data after June 2020 were included in the study. Patient data from these two periods were compared with each other.
RESULTS: The pre-pandemic and pandemic groups had 560 eyes of 489 patients and 590 eyes of 534 patients, respectively. The patients in the pre-pandemic group were significantly older than those in the pandemic group (69 vs. 67 years, P=0.046). The mean BCVA differs according to the groups (0.163±0.148 vs. 0.130±0.132) (P<0.001). The rate of blindness was signif-icantly higher in the pandemic group than in the pre-pandemic group (39.3% vs. 31.4, P=0.006). There was no difference in the number of brown/mature cataracts between the two periods (P: 0.629). Diabetic retinopathy was significantly lower during the pandemic period. The number of traumatic cataracts increased substantially during the pandemic.
CONCLUSION: We encountered cataract patients with lower pre-operative best-corrected visual acuity during the pandemic.