Advice from Dr. Ciardella

The Director of the Operating Unit of the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Polyclinic explains the need to resume a normal routine made up of therapies and controls.
Federico Bartolomei

Now that Italy is returning (almost) to normal, more than two years after the initial state of emergency, declared by the Conte government in 2020 and extended several times, we continue to talk about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with chronic diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). “First of all,” explains Dr. Antonio Ciardella, ophthalmologist, and Director of the Operating Unit of the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Polyclinic, “we have to remember that patients with maculopathy need continuous attention both in terms of investigations and therapy. For example, in the case of exudative or wet form of ARMD, pharmacological treatments to be injected into the eye are necessary to block the phenomenon of angiogenesis. 

Dr. Antonio Ciardella, Director of the Operating Unit of the Sant'Orsola-Malpighi Polyclinic

These treatments need to be repeated, sometimes even monthly, so it is important not to disregard this by interrupting the course of treatment.” On the other hand, during the most difficult times of this period, the access to care was reduced for two main reasons: first, people were reluctant to go to the hospital, preferring to avoid public and crowded places. On the other hand, many facilities had to reduce patient intake because many beds were dedicated to the care of COVID-19 patients. The same thing happened to part of the medical and nursing staff. 

A visit to the eye specialist

“Today,” Ciardella continues, “we have patients who have stopped their checkups with their eye specialist for as long as 12 or even 24 months, unfortunately resulting in some cases a deterioration that can no longer be recovered. The advice I would give, now that we are moving toward an improvement in the pandemic situation, is to resume the normal routine of therapies and controls. Let us also not forget prevention: after the age of 50, it is advisable to have regular eye checkups, especially if you have people in your family with vision problems, the latter being a risk factor.”

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