Eye exams should be part of new back-to-school routine

Tuesday August 24, 2021

Switch to classroom learning can exacerbate changes in eye health after a year of prolonged screen time

TORONTO, Aug. 24, 2021 /CNW/ – After an unconventional school year of virtual learning, children are set to return to the classroom next month and, to start the school year off right, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society is reminding parents that children should be getting a back-to-school comprehensive eye exam. With a significant increase in screen time during the pandemic, one-third (34 per cent) of Canadians have experienced worsened eyesight, dry eye, or other eye health changes, according to a recent survey by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society.

“We’ve seen that prolonged screen time is a key factor in the increase of conditions such as myopia – including in children – so it’s important to closely monitor eyesight for any changes, even at a young age,” says Dr. Colin Mann, President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. “Given that vision plays a crucial role in academic success, maintaining good eye health should be a priority, and the start of the school year is a good time to have children’s eyes tested.”

Despite half of Canadians (49 per cent) who believe too much screen time can cause myopia (nearsightedness) in children and adults, the average hours spent on screen per day has increased overall since COVID-19 by more than an hour from 6.5 to 7.8 per day. The increase in screen time has been particularly pronounced for those aged 18-34. And while half (51 per cent) of respondents expect that their and their family’s screen time will decrease after the pandemic has eased, 37 per cent disagree with this statement.

In addition to getting regular eye exams, protecting children’s eyes is a good factor in maintaining eye health. This includes regularly wearing appropriate sunglasses to protect eyes against harmful UV rays. The majority of Canadians understand the importance of UV protection for children, yet a small portion of Canadians (9 per cent) believe that children do not need sunglasses as much as adults. Sun-related eye damage is very common in children because they have a clearer ocular lens which doesn’t provide as much protection to their retinas.

Parents can ensure they protect their child’s vision and maintain eye health by following these helpful tips:

For more information and to do a quick online test designed to let you know quickly if there is a significant issue with your visual acuity, visit seethepossibilities.ca.

About Canadian Ophthalmological Society
The Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) is the national, recognized authority on eye and vision care in Canada. As eye physicians and surgeons, we are committed to assuring the provision of optimal medical and surgical eye care for all Canadians by promoting excellence in ophthalmology and by providing services to support our members in practice. Our membership includes over 900 ophthalmologists and 200 ophthalmology residents. We work collaboratively with government, other national and international specialty societies, our academic communities (ACUPO), our provincial partners and affiliates and other eye care professionals and patient groups to advocate for health policy in Canada in the area of eye and vision health. COS is an accredited, award-winning provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and is an affiliate of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). For more information, visit cos-sco.ca.

About the Survey
These are some of the findings of a Leger survey conducted on behalf of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, using Leger’s online panel of more than 400,000 members, between June 22 and July 4, 2021. For this survey, a sample of 2,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Weighting has been employed to ensure that the sample composition accurately reflects the adult population of Canada, as per the latest Census Data.

No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e. a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 2000 respondents would have a margin of error of ±2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

About Leger 
Founded in 1986, Leger has gained an impressive knowledge base, which provides clients access to credible and reliable data and more than 30 years of experience. Leger possesses research capabilities spanning every dimension of the marketplace and opinion landscape conducting both quantitative and qualitative research on behalf of an extensive array of public and private sector clients on a local, national, and global scale.

Leger is Canada’s largest independent full-service research firm, with over 600 employees in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver in Canada, and Philadelphia in the United States. The LEO (Leger Opinion) panel is the largest Canadian panel with over 400,000 representative panelists from all regions of Canada. LEO was created by Leger based on a representative Canadian sample of Canadian citizens with Internet access.

Leger is a founding member of CRIC and is actively involved in raising quality standards in the survey industry. President Jean-Marc Léger is a member of the CRIC’s Board of Directors and the Canadian representative of ESOMAR.

Leger is the polling firm that has presented the most accurate data, on average, over the last 10 years in Canada. During the last federal election in 2019, Leger was once again the most accurate firm in the country. This accuracy is attributed to the quality of the LEO panel and rigorous application of methodological rules by Leger’s employees.  

Poll aggregator 338Canada.com gave Leger the highest rating among all polling firms in Canada for the accuracy of its studies. See https://338canada.com/pollster-ratings.htm

SOURCE Canadian Ophthalmological Society

For further information: Bojana Duric, [email protected], 289.981.7710, BlueSky Communications