World Sight Day 2022: increased screen time and more vision problems post pandemic

To mark World Sight Day 2022, those in the Australian eye health sector are encouraging people to make an appointment for an eye examination with their optometrist in the wake of reports indicating increased screen time and deteriorating vision after the COVID pandemic.

Almost one in three Australians reported deteriorating eye health due to spending more time in front of screens including laptops and mobile phones in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Optometry Australia's 2022 Vision Index. The report also found that 42% of Australians reported a spike in time spent on screens in the past 12 months.

Vision 2020 Australia CEO Patricia Sparrow said the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed our lives.

“We cannot ignore the negative impacts it has had on many aspects of our health, include our eyesight. Australians are spending more time in front of screens than ever, which means their eyes are at greater risk of weakening and need to be checked regularly,” she said.

On World Sight Day (13 October, 2022), Vision 2020 Australia is encouraging Australians to take the pledge to love their eyes and get their vision tested regularly, in addition to monitoring any changes to their vision and maintaining ongoing treatment if they have an existing eye condition.

Previous data has shown that 90% of all vision loss is preventable or treatable if identified early enough.

Sparrow said World Sight Day is an opportunity to remind Australians that eye healthcare is a crucial part of overall wellbeing.

“For those who suffer from vision loss, it’s a reminder to prioritise and maintain ongoing treatment vital to ensure their vision does not deteriorate further and they have all the aid they need to lead their lives independently,” she said.

“We’re urging Australians to love their eyes and put routine eye tests with qualified optometrists on top of their to-do lists.

“An eye test is the simplest, quickest and the most effective way to love your eyes and protect your vision.”

Vision 2020 Australia chair and retired politician Mr Christopher Pyne received a routine eye test in Adelaide to mark World Sight Day and highlighted the importance of getting eye tests regularly.

Vision 2020 Australia is also hosting free eye checks at the NSW Parliament House and writing to key federal and state politicians requesting them to spread the message as part of their activities to mark World Sight Day in Australia.

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