Logo Logo

Klingenstein, Annemarie ORCID: 0000-0001-8767-7660; Samel, Christina; Hintschich, Christoph (2022): Potential Delay of Diagnosing Infraorbital Skin Tumors Due to Coverage by Face Masks During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Observational Study. Clinical Ophthalmology, 16: 36304990. pp. 3581-3587. ISSN 1177-5483

[thumbnail of opth-16-3581.pdf] Published Article

The publication is available under the license Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (839kB)


Aim: To assess the potential danger of belated diagnosis or underdiagnosis of cutaneous infraorbital pathologies that are partially or fully covered by face masks worn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: We evaluated data of 257 patients with infraorbital pathologies presenting at a large tertiary German university center between 04/2020 and 06/2021. This mono-centric, retrospective analysis included descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests.
Results: Out of 257 cutaneous infraorbital pathologies, 32 (12.5%) were partially and 20 (7.8%) fully covered by the required face mask. Significantly more patients with lesions that were partially or fully covered came from a single household (p=0.003, Fisher’s exact test) with 125 (48.6%) patients reportedly living alone. In patients with multiple periocular pathologies (n = 51, 19.8%), the risk of at least one periocular lesion being covered by the face mask was significantly elevated (p=0.009, Fisher’s exact test). As expected, malignant tumors were significantly larger than benign pathologies (largest diameter, malignant median 9.0mm, range 1.3– 34.0mm, mean 10.5mm, and benign median 3.0mm, range 1.0– 7.0mm, mean 4.3mm, respectively; p< 0.001, Mann–Whitney-U test) and patients presenting with malignant lesions were significantly older (median age 78.4, range 33– 93, mean 73.7 years versus median age 57.9, range 18– 90, mean 59.8 years, respectively; p< 0.001, Mann–Whitney-U test). Additionally, in subgroup analysis, patients with malignant lesions coming from single households were significantly older (p=0.041, Mann–Whitney-U test).
Conclusion: For adequate and timely treatment of infraorbital lesions, patients should be examined without their face mask. This is of utmost importance for the elderly (being at greater risk for malignant pathologies) and patients coming from single households. The presence of multiple pathologies must always be excluded.

View Item
View Item