Challenges and impact of COVID-19 lockdown on Indian optometry practice: A survey-based study.

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The Indian government announced a nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure to control the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. This survey was developed and conducted to assess the impact of lockdown on Indian optometry practice.A survey questionnaire was designed and circulated across the optometrists practicing in India through multiple social media platforms. All the data were extracted and only valid response were analyzed and reported.A total of 691 optometrists participated in the survey. Most of the participants (22.25%) were in private practice followed by academics (14.89%). Among the valid responses collected, it was found that 43.37% of the respondents were consulting patients during the lockdown. Of these, 27.17% of optometrists were examining infectious cases and 48.68% were examining all the patients who came for consultation. Approximately 50.94% of the participated optometrist had begun telephonic/e‑mail/video consultations. In addition, 64.48% reported that optometrists were at an equal risk of clinching COVID‑19 on comparison with other domains during patient examination. Nearly 30.44% respondents felt that optometrists would face challenges in approaching the patient post COVID-19 considering the close working distance.A proportion of optometrist have switched to some form of teleconsultation in order to aid patients during this prevailing pandemic. Regulatory bodies should issue appropriate guidelines regarding the safe optometry practice for the betterment of both patient and practitioners during face-to-face consultation.

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