RESEARCH ARTICLE


Knowledge and Awareness of the Coronavirus Disease and Perceptions Towards Ophthalmic Practice Among Ophthalmologists



Yazan Gammoh1, *
iD

1 Department of Optometry Science, Faculty of Allied Medical Sciences, Al-Ahliyya Amman University, Amman, Jordan


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Creative Commons License
© 2021 Yazan Gammoh

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Optometry Science, Faculty of Allied Medical Sciences, Al-Ahliyya Amman University, Amman, P.O. Box 121, 19328, Jordan; Tel: +962797931373;
E-mail: gammohyazan@yahoo.com


Abstract

Objective:

To investigate the level of awareness of ophthalmologists towards COVID-19 and their perceptions towards infection control in ophthalmic practice.

Methods:

A web-based survey was conducted using Google Forms during the month of December 2020. All ophthalmologists practicing in Sudan were invited to participate in the study. Participants who did not agree to the terms of the electronic consent form presented at the beginning of the questionnaire as well as those who did not complete the survey, were excluded from the analysis. Knowledge of causes, symptoms, and methods of transmission of COVID-19; ophthalmologists’ attitudes and perceptions towards COVID-19 and clinical practice, including contact lens practice, were assessed using a set of 26 multiple-choice close-ended questions.

Results:

Of the 307 participants, 77.4% were in the age range 30-40 years and 73% were contact lens practitioners. While 96.1% acknowledged the scientific name of COVID-19, 46.9% were aware of its cause. Ophthalmologists aged 40-50 years were more likely to agree that air-puffing tonometer risks infection spread (OR 1.62, 95% CI: 0.27-9.70, p<0.01). Ophthalmologists aged 30-40 years were more likely to agree that a slit lamp shield would reduce infection risk (OR 1.52, 95% CI: 0.33-6.96, p<0.01). Contact lens practitioners were more likely to perceive that frequent replacement contact lens use can increase the infection spread (OR 2.64, 95% CI: 1.17-5.94, p<0.01).

Conclusion:

Ophthalmologists in Sudan demonstrated a mixed level of knowledge of the causes, symptoms, and modes of transmission of COVID-19. While the majority were able to identify the protective measures generally required by medical practitioners and patients, there was a limited level of knowledge regarding protective measures specific to ophthalmic practices, especially when dealing with contact lenses. Official national guidelines about safe ophthalmic service provision during the COVID-19 pandemic are recommended.

Keywords: COVID-19, Contact lens, Ophthalmology, Infection control, Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.