Dr Matteo Piovella
Dr Matteo Piovella, President of the Italian Society of Ophthalmology says that every public hospital in northern Italy is now concentrating on COVID-19 and no eye surgery is taking place.
“The situation is critical,” says Dr Piovella,” In some of our public hospitals we do not have enough gel, masks, gloves and protective clothing but steps are being taken to improve this situation. We also need more respiratory machines.
“We also do not have enough doctors and nurses to cope with COVID-19 and the hospitals are having to recruit from outside for extra staff.
“Some eye surgery can take place in private ophthalmology clinics but the staff must have the proper protective equipment and they must make sure that there is a safe distance between patients.
Dr Roberto Bellucci
Distinguished Italian ophthalmologist and former ESCRS President Dr Roberto Bellucci says in the north of Italy, where he practices, ophthalmology is closed.
“All the people are staying at home and there is little sign that the infection will subside.
“The problem is particularly bad for patients with macular degeneration who cannot receive their monthly injections,” said Dr Belucci.
“My message to my colleagues in ophthalmology is that everyone of us will have to decide what type of care should be carried out and we should find the courage to do surgery for patients with retinal detachment, trauma and other emergencies,” he said.
Dr Lucio Buratto
Dr Lucio Buratto has a clinic in Milan, the current epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are seeing very few patients,” said Dr Buratto. “We have had to postpone almost all patient visits. We limit visits to the essential cases, such as postoperative follow-ups.
“In fact, we are closing this week. We will try to be open perhaps for limited hours to allow patients that must be seen. We’ve reduced the number of staff and the hours to when we really must see patients. It is a disaster, it is the same everywhere now.”