Telemedicine in Oculoplastic Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Single Center Experience


Purpose: To investigate patterns in oculoplastic surgery telemedicine visits at our institution during the pandemic period.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of all patients who had a virtual consultation with the oculoplastic surgery service at Mayo Clinic Rochester between March 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021.

Results: There were a total of 148 patients. Mean age was 65 years (95% confidence interval [CI]: 62–68). The mean driving distance to the medical center was 468 kilometers (95% CI: 352–586) and 15 (10%) patients came from states with no practicing American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS) members. Out of the 205 virtual visits, 35 (17%) were new, 45 (22%) were return, and 125 (61%) were postoperative. Conversion rate to surgery was 60%. A comparison between type of virtual visits (new vs. return vs. postoperative) revealed that a diagnosis of eyelid malposition was most frequent in postoperative visits (p = < 0.001), skin malignancy was most frequent in new visits (p = 0.009), and orbital tumors (p = 0.018) and thyroid eye disease (p = < 0.001) were most frequent in return visits. Most virtual encounters had supportive media attached including external photographs in 127 (62%) visits and other imaging or testing in 18 (9%) visits. The average virtual visit lasted 18 min (95% CI: 14–22) with technical difficulties noted in 9 (4%) visits. Unanticipated conversion to in-person visits was noted in three (1%) cases.

Conclusions: A wide range of oculoplastic surgery conditions was managed virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilization of initial virtual visit versus follow-up care varied by diagnosis. Virtual visits may improve access to oculoplastic subspecialty care for patients from underserved areas.


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