Commentary: Telerehabilitation in ophthalmic practices, a new normal and a must : Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

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Commentary: Telerehabilitation in ophthalmic practices, a new normal and a must

Morya, Arvind K; Janti, Siddharam S1; Tejaswini, Antarvedi1

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Indian Journal of Ophthalmology 70(3):p 1030, March 2022. | DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_3209_21

The whole world has been reeling under a calamity once the WHO announced COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020, with over 28.3 crore positive cases and over 54.1 lac deaths from 235 countries as of December 29, 2021.[1] This sudden crisis has posed a challenge to provide healthcare while maintaining proper social distancing. Thus, due attention to user-friendly electronic communication technologies in diagnosis and management is the need of the hour. These telehealth services were proven to be useful in previous pandemics such as Zika, SARS-COV, MERS-COV, and Ebola viruses.[2]

As we are very much aware that telehealth has myriad modalities, including telerehabilitation, which is quite effective in morbidities such as patients with cardiac or musculoskeletal problems, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and neurological problems.[2] In addition, as a subset of these services, telerehabilitation for visual impairment (low vision and blind) can be developed and provided to the needy. The aim of vision rehabilitation is to improve the overall quality of life and life functioning among people with vision impairment and vision loss. Many studies are coming up on providing successful ocular management using teleconsultation techniques during the COVID-19 lockdown all around the globe.

The current telerehabilitation system does not provide every aspect of management and rather aims at providing monitoring, education, and counseling and to teach preventive measures to family members as well as audio-visual supervision during a lockdown. In the study by Christy on telerehabilitation for persons with visual impairment, it has been proven telerehabilitation is an effective alternative health care model for patients with visual impairment. They were able to provide broad services starting from individual and family counseling regarding psychological well-being, education, therapeutic intervention to skills training for their daily activities through a virtual platform.[3]

We are well aware that visual rehabilitation is an integral instrument of universal health care and is critical for accomplishing the sustainable development goal of ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for everyone. The entry of the Omicron variant and likely extension of pandemic poses challenges and is bound to delay the visual-rehabilitation process. Thus, efficient and effective use of ultra-modern technologies must be incorporated to provide visual-rehabilitation facilities at everyone’s doorsteps under the proper formulation of guidelines by the government.


1. Christy B, Keeffe J Telerehabilitation during COVID-19 Indian J Ophthalmol 2020 68 1489 90
2. Senjam SS, Manna S, Vashist P, Gupta V, Varughese S, Tandon R Tele-rehabilitation for visually challenged students during COVID-19 pandemic: Lesson learned Indian J Ophthalmol 2021 69 722 8
3. Christy B, Mahalakshmi M, Aishwarya TV, Jayaraman D, Das AV, Rani PK Tele-rehabilitation for persons with vision impairment during COVID-19: Experiences and lessons? learned Indian J Ophthalmol 2022 70 1026 9
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