Optician warns about lasting damage to eyesight due to pandemic

A member of staff wearing a face mask

Fakenham’s Scrivens Opticians and Hearing Care are advising people to keep eye test appointments after a number of their patients found their vision had worsened. - Credit: Scrivens Opticians

With lockdown restrictions over the last 12 months, the majority of our work and leisure time has been dominated by screens.

This could have a lasting impact, as an optician has found that people's eyesight has significantly worsened over the last year.

Fakenham’s Scrivens Opticians and Hearing Care are advising people to keep eye test appointments after a number of their patients found their vision had worsened.

With screen time increased during the past year of covid restrictions.

The Fakenham optician’s customer survey found their eyesight had worsened during the past year, with over two-thirds reporting increased screen time for watching TV, shopping, work and scanning social media.


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The poll was carried out to mark 12 months since the first national lockdown was brought in to fight the pandemic.

On a national front, 69pc of respondents to their online survey said that people’s screen time had increased, with one in ten putting the extra time at six hours or more a day.

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The most popular reasons given were online shopping, watching TV, social media, work, virtual socialising, gaming and home schooling.

Despite the challenges, 71pc of respondents said they had kept their eye test appointments and of these 47pc found their prescriptions had changed for the worse.

The opticians on Norwich street

Scrivens Opticians and Hearing Care on Fakenham's Norwich Street. - Credit: Google Maps

Of those who did not take up eye test reminders, three quarters said it was due to covid concerns.

Manager of the Scrivens branch on Norwich Street, Rose Jewell, said: “We are open as an essential healthcare provider with covid-secure measures in place so people can access our services safely. 

"It is important to keep appointments for eye tests as they detect not only changes in our vision but are also a means of checking general health too.

“As restrictions ease and life returns to normal, we hope people will feel more confident about having their eyes checked, especially if they have noticed any differences in their vision.

“More of us are spending more time in a virtual life so we would advise taking regular breaks to guard against eye strain.

"For those who wear glasses or contact lenses, it is advisable to keep prescriptions up to date.”

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