How The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Impacted Vision Care
The coronavirus pandemic has had a ripple effect that has impacted a variety of industries, including the field of eye care. With supply chains interrupted as well as businesses and clinics having to close or reduce appointments due to social distancing, access to vision care has been disrupted.
For example, there were 2.9 million fewer visits made to optometrists in 2020 compared to the year before.1 Additionally, 143,000 eye surgeries were missed or delayed, while wait times for cataract surgeries increase by an average of 31 days.2 These delays in eye examinations and treatments contributed to the vision loss of at least 1,400 Canadians in 2020.3
It's been predicted that it will take approximately 2 years as well as $129 million in funding to clear the backlog of cataract surgeries caused by COVID-19.4 But as the pandemic wages on and more eye examinations and treatments are postponed, this backlog stands to increase further.
These delays are not only an inconvenience, but they can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, especially in the case of cataracts.
Cataracts refer to the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Not only does it result in increased vision loss as it progresses, but it can result in blindness if left untreated. In fact, it’s the leading cause of blindness and poor vision in the United States.
Early detection is key in treating cataracts. The longer they develop without treatment, the more difficult they are to remove and can lead to permanently impaired vision or blindness. Given the delays in eye examinations and treatments due to the pandemic, the ability to detect cataracts early is compromised, thereby increasing the risk of vision loss.
At LASIK MD, we believe in the accessibility of quality eyecare, which is why we’ve leveraged our resources to help reduce this backlog. Canadian health authorities are increasingly turning to LASIK MD to alleviate the backlog’s burden on the public healthcare system.
Several of our clinics have reached agreements with provincial and regional health authorities to use our clinical spaces and resources to perform cataract surgeries on patients from the public health sector.
For example, LASIK MD has partnered with Integrated Health and Social Services Centres (CISSS) of Chaudière-Appalaches to use our space and resources to complete 3,000 cataract surgeries in the next three years. As per Radio-Canada, this agreement has already helped reduce wait times from 3 to 4 years in 2020 to a year and a half. It’s hoped this can further be cut down to 6 months.
Given how important your vision is, you shouldn’t wait to prioritize your eye health. At LASIK MD, we offer a variety of vision correction procedures designed to correct common eyesight problems, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (blurry vision at all distances).
When you come in for a free consultation, our clinical team will perform a variety of diagnostic tests and eye examinations to determine what procedure is best for you. LASIK MD is one of the few eye care providers in Canada who offers a full range of vision solutions. We likely have a procedure that can suit your needs and desired visual outcome.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, our clinics continue to operate to provide our patients with comprehensive vision care. We have implemented additional protocols beyond our usual standard health measures to ensure the safety of our staff and patients, which you can learn more about on our safety protocols page.
The benefits of clear vision are life changing. By reducing or eliminating the hassle of glasses and contacts, it offers you more freedom in your daily life. It can also help save you money in the long run by reducing costs associated with frames and contacts (try our Savings Calculator to see for yourself).
There’s no denying that coronavirus has changed the way the world does things, but that’s no reason to put your eye health on the backburner. Book a free consultation with LASIK MD today to prioritize your eyesight and discover how clear vision can transform the way you see the world.
1 Gordon, Keith. The Impact of COVID-19 on the Prevalence and Cost of Vision Loss and Blindness in Canada. November 2021. PowerPoint Presentation to Medtech Canada.