As we know, the treatment of uveitis requires systemic treatment in the form of steroids and immunosuppressive therapy. In these times of Coronavirus Pandemic, with hospitals only available for emergencies, you need to be aware of certain dos and don’t when you’re on treatment for uveitis.

What are the typical risk factors for COVID-19 infection?

  1. Age > 50 years. This population is at a greater risk because of age-related debilitation of the immune system. Also, because this group is more likely to have multiple chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.
  2. Heart disease, diseases of the pulmonary system/ lungs and obesity.
  3. Travel history to countries with high prevalence or contact with such persons.
  4. Smoking
  5. History of infection while on systemic immunosuppressive treatment.

What are the precautions that patients with autoimmune uveitis who are on systemic immunosuppressive therapy must take?

Patients who are on immunosuppressive therapy know that their doctor regularly monitors their blood counts. This practice must be continued and blood counts should be monitored at least once in 3 months. If the total white cell count is above 4000, there is no additional risk for acquiring the COVID-19 infection.

Before starting the immunosuppressive therapy, your doctor would have explained about protecting yourself from infections by practicing strict personal hygiene. In these times of Coronavirus pandemic here is a list of dos and don’ts to avoid getting infected:

  1. Do not start or stop your medication or change the dosage on your own. Please take your medicine as prescribed by your doctor.
  2. Practice strict hand and personal hygiene. Keep washing your hands frequently with soap and water.
  3. Avoid crowds as much as possible. Wear a mask if required, especially if there are sick people around.
  4. Keep a distance of at least 2 metres to practice social distancing.
  5. Stay at home and do not leave the house until absolutely necessary.
  6. Sanitize or wash your hand immediately after using transaction machines for public use or wear gloves.
  7. If your eye becomes red, painful and vision seems blurry, meet your doctor immediately or call the hospital number to get in touch.
  8. Contact the doctor immediately if you have any symptoms of cough, fever, runny nose.
  9. Do NOT use ibuprofen.
  10. Stay away from rumours and do not self medicate.
Dr Abhilasha Baharani