August 11, 2020
COVID-19 and the Ophthalmology Match
David A. Quillen, MD – Hershey, Pennsylvania
R. Michael Siatkowski, MD – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Steven Feldon, MD, MBA – Rochester, New York, on behalf of the Association of University Professors of
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted ophthalmology and medical education profoundly. In an effort to reduce the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the American Academy of Ophthalmology issued a statement on March 18, 2020,urging all ophthalmologists immediately to cease providing any treatment other than urgent or emergent care.1 This recommendations endorsed by every major ophthalmology organization in the United States resulted in a 79% reduction in care, the highest decline of any medical or surgical discipline.2 Concurrently, the Association of American Medical Colleges recommended that medical schools pause all medical student clinical rotations and suggested that medical students not be involved in any direct patient care.3 The disruption was unprecedented. Medical students were unable to complete core clerkship and specialty electives at a critical time in their training. Imposed travel restrictions limited their ability to pursue rotations away from their home institutions (“away rotations”), global health experiences, and academic meetings. Social distancing requirements interrupted research activities and prevented some medical students from completing the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLEs).