Drive-through IOP screening clinic beneficial during pandemic

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In order to limit COVID-19 exposure to patients and clinicians, a drive-through intraocular pressure (IOP) screening clinic was developed, allowing clinicians to measure eye pressure in a parking lot, according to a Research Letter published in JAMA ophthalmology.

The authors note that IOP levels are hard to determine through telemedicine, a common alternative to in-person visits used during the pandemic.

In the drive-through IOP clinic, patients remained in their cars and clinicians in personal protective equipment performed tonometry using the Icare ic200 and TA01i model rebound tonometers. Equipment were disinfected and/or replaced between patients.

When eye pressure surpassed a predetermined threshold value specific to a patient’s prior care, they were brought into the clinic for a Goldmann applanation

If IOP was regular, patients left and scheduled a follow-up telehealth appointment. Of the 151 visits (n = 135 patients) who utilized the drive-through clinic over a 9-week period, the mean (SD) IOP was 18.2 (6.3) mm Hg, with 4.7% (n = 14 eyes) having an IOP >30 mm Hg.

A pressure >30 mm Hg was found in 36% (n = 5) of eyes exceeding screening IOP thresholds. Overall, 30.5% of visits resulted in a change in management.

“The drive-through IOP clinic has proven to be a tremendous asset to clinical operations during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors concluded. “Although conceived out of necessity, this innovative approach to patient care may continue to serve our patients’ needs well beyond this crisis.

Sundararajan M, Nguyen AH, Lopez SE, et al. Adapting to Coronavirus Disease 2019 with point-of-care outdoor intraocular pressure monitoring. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online January 07, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.6073

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