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From work to school, book clubs to coffee dates, people are online more than ever before. And eye care professionals are bracing for the inevitable impact on vision health.

Vision strain caused by a spike in screen time could introduce a number of issues for patients. In many cases, the problem may be made worse by delays in routine care. 

This combination of factors paves the way for an increase in vision conditions such as near-sightedness, dry eye syndrome and computer vision syndrome – an eye condition that develops after viewing a digital screen for an extended period of time.

Vision loss due to uncorrected eye problems continues to be the most common cause of vision impairment and even blindness. As the world’s population grows and ages, blindness and visual impairments are expected to triple over the next 30 years

In many cases, however, early detection and treatment can help. In fact, 75% of blindness and vision conditions are treatable, if not preventable. Yet eye care was among the most neglected forms of health care in 2020, say eye care professionals.

Many conditions are difficult to diagnose and treat without being in person, with eye conditions near the top of that list. But halting in-person eye care was seen as a necessary precaution to prevent COVID-19 transmission. And, due to coronavirus concerns, many vision programs were suspended, including mobile eye screenings and non-emergency surgeries.

Now, eye care professionals are urging Americans not to forgo their eye exams any longer.

With COVID-19 vaccine administration underway and a new year before them, patients have a fresh opportunity to step away from the screen for a bit and make their vision health a priority once again.

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