This study aimed to describe the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the presentation characteristics, timings, and surgical decisions for primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD).
A historical cohort including all patients who presented to the Surgical Retina Section at Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Porto (CHUPorto), over a 2-year period, was recruited and divided into 2 groups: pre-COVID and COVID groups. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was recorded as starting on March 18, 2020, the same day the first pandemic-related lockdown came to effect in Portugal.
This study enrolled 449 eyes of 443 patients: 272 in the pre-COVID group and 177 in the COVID one. Of the patients, 63.6% were male, and the mean ± SD age was 63.0 ± 13.2 years (range 13–92 years). Of the eyes, 55.5% ( n = 151) presented with macular detachment in the pre-COVID group compared with 66.9% ( n = 119) in the COVID group (odds ratio [OR] 1.62; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.09–3.86; p = 0.016). The time from symptom onset to hospital admission ( p = 0.021) and from admission to surgery ( p < 0.001) was longer in the COVID era. In the COVID period, silicone oil (OR 2.03, 95% CI: 1.09–3.79, p = 0.025) and C3F8 gas (OR 2.42, 95% CI: 1.57–3.71, p < 0.001) were used more often. No differences in anatomical success or final visual acuity were found.