No one imagined the medical landscape shifting so suddenly. Even the epidemiologists whose models and predictions forecast a dark path forward would have had a difficult time conceptualizing the on-the-ground fallout of a pandemic that tears through nations and rips at the fabric of institutions. As a profession, as a country, as a planet, we were underprepared, maladroit, and, in some cases, tragically overconfident.
Some find it easy to fold. But that is not in our nature as physicians. In war, doctors run to the front lines as soldiers retreat. In this war, we find ourselves again at the front lines. Our cover fire takes the form of N95 masks; the bullet we dodge is a tenacious strain of coronavirus.
The worldwide retina community has worked diligently for decades to foster a sense of common cause. Now, amid a maelstrom of uncertainty, it is time to cash in the dividends of our hard work. We must prop each other up, inspire each other, and push our colleagues to weather this storm. We will survive this, armed with education and collaboration.
Bryn Mawr Communications, the publisher of Retina Today, is an ally you can rely on during this crisis. Eyewire, a BMC entity, has built a COVID-19 resource center that tracks the latest news for ophthalmologists. Retina Today’s ongoing coverage of COVID-19 will examine how this new reality intersects with retina. BMC’s Eyetube podcast series https://eyetube.net/podcasts/new-retina-radio/ and https://eyetube.net/podcasts/ophthalmology-off-the-grid/are broadcasting live webinars and blasting bi-weekly episodes with reports from ophthalmologists around the world, covering everything from the response in hot zones to practice management during a disaster.
In this issue of Retina Today, we check in with doctors in cities where the fallout has been severe, view how personal protective equipment can be used and reused, and review the latest research on COVID-19. We did this because the members of the retina community wanted to share their knowledge—and because we knew you needed as much information as possible.
The months ahead will be difficult. When you need to hear from your peers for education, for news, or for comfort, we hope you’ll turn to us.