The social isolation imposed by the epidemic and the fear of infection with it Covid-19 It made many people delay going to the doctor and getting medical checks. The effect can be particularly severe in the case of chronic diseases such as Glaucoma The main cause that can be prevented blindness In the world. Information from Brazilian Board of Ophthalmology (CBOIt showed a 27% reduction in early diagnostic tests for disease and 22% for disease-related surgery in 2020. Experts fear deteriorating patients’ health and increasing demand for they Next year.
The fall hampers the investigation of potential new cases of the disease, and contributes to delaying the start of treatment, and monitoring confirmed cases that require monitoring to prevent their exacerbation. According to the CBO survey, conducted with the support of 360 ° CI consultations, ophthalmologists use eight different types of tests performed at SUS to diagnose glaucoma.
“From year to year, the volume of service always tends to increase,” explains the director of the glaucoma department in Santa Casa de São Paulo, Cristiano Caexita Umpelino, Vice President of CBO. “This is very concerning because glaucoma is a disease that cannot be cured, but that can be controlled. With the diagnosis at a more advanced stage, there will be injuries that cannot be treated.”
According to the analysis of the Central Bank of Oman, in 2019, 5.9 million tests were performed in the public network. But during the pandemic, this number has decreased by 1.6 million (27%). According to SUS Outpatient Information System data, in 2020 the decrease affected preventive screening for glaucoma in all Brazilian regions. At absolute values, the effect was more sensitive in Sao Paulo (348.6 thousand less), Bahia (-202.4 thousand), Rio Grande do Sul (-122.5 ml).
At least 6,500 surgeries were no longer performed to treat and reverse glaucoma in SUS in 2020. It was a reduction of 22%. With social isolation fading in most parts of the country and surgical procedures resuming, ophthalmologists fear high demand and patients with the disease in a worsening stage.
“The biggest problem is the patients’ deterioration, which can have irreversible consequences,” says Caixita Umbelino. “The public system already has huge queues for help. With the suppression of surgeries, unfortunately there will be an increase in waiting lists.”
Four different types of SUS surgeries that are used to treat glaucoma were analyzed. According to the analysis, all regions recorded a decrease in the number of procedures. In the southeast alone, there was a decrease of about 3.7 thousand (about 27%) of procedures for treating glaucoma in 2020.
“The public system already has huge waiting lists for assistance. With the reservation of surgeries in 2020 and 2021, unfortunately there will be an increase in waiting lists,” the specialist assesses.