Resuming eye bank services during the COVID-19 pandemic: Experience and inferences
|COVID-19 pandemic; eye bank; Ophthalmology; reopening
|WOLTERS KLUWER MEDKNOW PUBLICATIONS
|INDIAN JOURNAL OF OPHTHALMOLOGY
Purpose: The aim of this study was to formulate a methodological approach for resuming eye bank services during COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Eye bank operations were temporarily halted in March after the government-mandated ``Lockdown'' in response to COVID-19 pandemic. Before restarting eye bank operations in May, we studied sources of exposure, performed risk assessment, instituted additional process validations and redefined the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in consultation with the guidelines published by the Eye bank Association of India and All India Ophthalmological Society. The eye bank staff were rigorously trained before and after operations were restarted. We conducted a survey at the end of July to gauge staff attitude and reaction. Results: Eye banks services resumed on 20th May 2020. Since reopening till the end of July total 41 keratoplasties have been done. 91.75% of all keratoplasties done were therapeutic surgeries and 17% of the surgeries were done using glycerine preserved tissues. No staff had COVID-19 symptoms when the operations restarted and none developed symptoms up to the end of July. All eye bank staff were aware of COVID-19 pandemic and 86% said they felt safe working at the eye bank. 86% of the staff said that they received adequate training and 66% of the staff expressed that they always received proper PPE and kits. Overall, 93% of the staff expressed that the measures taken by the eye bank ensured their safety. Conclusion: Based on our experience we suggest the following activities for planned resumption of eye bank services during the pandemic Exposure Risk Analysis, Personal Protective Equipment usage training, SOP Revision and staff training on modified SOPs. Criteria based selection of donor sources, participatory planning involving the staff and double-checking at critical process junctions helped us in managing a smooth transition.
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checked on Mar 2, 2024