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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 994-998

Psychological impact of COVID-19 on ophthalmologists-in-training and practising ophthalmologists in India


1 Allen Foster Community Eye Health Research Centre, Gullapalli Pratibha Rao International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eyecare, LV Prasad Eye Institute; Brien Holden Eye Research Centre, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India; School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, USA
2 Editor, Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, Centre for Sight, Hyderabad, India
3 Allen Foster Community Eye Health Research Centre, Gullapalli Pratibha Rao International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eyecare; Brien Holden Eye Research Centre, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India
4 Lead Biostatistician, The George Institute for Global Health India, New Delhi, India
5 Deputy Director and Director of Research, George Institute for Global Health India, New Delhi, India; Associate Professor, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; Professor, Prasanna School of Public Health, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rohit C Khanna
L V Prasad Eye Institute, L V Prasad Marg, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad - 500 034, Telangana

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1458_20

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Purpose: To evaluate the psychological impact of the COVID 19 crisis on ophthalmologists-in-training and practising ophthalmologists during lockdown in India. Methods: An online survey was completed by ophthalmologists and ophthalmology trainees during the lockdown. The information collected included demographics (age, gender), domicile (state, union territory), current professional status (in training or practising), type of practice (solo, group, institutional, governmental, non-governmental), marital status (married, single), impact of COVID-19 on their training or practice, and impact on income and ability to meet living expenses. Psychological distress was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Results: In all, 2,355 ophthalmologists responded. Mean age was 42.5 (range, 25-82 years; SD, 12.05) years. Of these, 1,332 (56.7%) were males; 475 (20.2%) were still not in practice; 366 (15.5%) were single; 1,244 (52.8%) felt that COVID-19 would impact on their training or professional work; and 869 (37%) had difficulty in meeting their living expenses. The mean PHQ-9 score was 3.98 (range, 0-27; SD, 4.65). In terms of psychological impact, 768 (32.6%) had some degree of depression; mild in 504 (21.4%), moderate in 163 (6.9%), and severe in 101 (4.3%). Multivariable analysis showed that depression was significantly higher at younger age. The odds of depression decreased by 3% with 1 year increase in age. It was higher in non-practicing ophthalmologists, especially those who were considerably worried about their training or professional growth, and those with difficulty in meeting living expenses. Conclusion: A strikingly high proportion of ophthalmologists are psychologically affected and may require personalized mental health care.


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