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Drop in conjunctivitis cases following COVID-19 measures

US emergency department data has revealed a reduction in the number of patients seeking treatment for conjunctivitis following the pandemic

person rubbing eyes
Getty/ AndreyPopov

New research published in JAMA Ophthalmology has revealed that the number of patients seeking treatment for conjunctivitis at a US emergency department dropped 37% following the pandemic.

Scientists examined US internet search data for terms related to non-allergic conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions and posterior vitreous detachments.

The researchers also analysed records at a US emergency department for the same conditions.

Trends were examined before and after public health measures for COVID-19 were introduced in April 2020.

The study found that emergency department visits for nonallergic conjunctivitis decreased 37% following the pandemic, while the number of patients seeking treatment for corneal abrasions and posterior vitreous detachments remained stable.

Search interest in conjunctivitis decreased by 34% following the outbreak of COVID-19.

“Public health interventions, such as social distancing, increased emphasis on hygiene, and travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, were associated with decreased search interest in non-allergic conjunctivitis and conjunctivitis-associated emergency department encounters,” the authors highlighted.