The COVID-19 pandemic came with enormous challenges, and its repercussions are being felt around the globe. The new situation is causing widespread concern about its health and safety implications. What is usually excluded from discussions is that some of the changes in the new lifestyle affect one of the most important organs – the eyes.
Changing lifestyles in the age of work from home and home-schooling lead to modified visual conditions. Viewing a computer or digital screen often makes work for the human eye harder. As a result, computer and digital screen viewing make many susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms. Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or can cause digital eye strain symptoms. A recent report from a global PC market leader showed that 91 percent of respondents in India agree that they have increased laptop usage during this pandemic, even more than the global average of 85 percent. [Source: Lenovo]
While this development signals a lasting change in modern work practices, it also causes several problems related to eye health. Especially for adults who work from home, communicate with friends and family via video chat, talk about streaming content from over-the-top (OTT) platforms, and finally for children and students taking online courses. All this leads to interesting new trends in how people deal with various eye-related topics.
The trends observed and relevant for eye and vision care are:
There is a growing demand on lenses for children and students. More and more parents are concerned about potential eye strain and visual irritation of their children and want to make sure they enjoy clear, natural and healthy vision.
People who have increased their screen time during the pandemic often experience symptoms of eye strain, including sore or irritated eyes, neck pain, headache, difficulties in focusing on tasks and even disrupted sleeping behavior.
The demand for lenses optimized for our digital life and work is growing. As people spend more and more hours in front of screens, tablets and smartphones, it is necessary to reduce the “digital”eyestrain.Optimized lenses are designed to ease the use of digital devices such as laptops, e-readers or smartphones. Special optimization of the near zone considers the typical movements of the eyes and shorter reading distance required by these devices. This design optimizes near vision and makes it easier for the wearer to focus their vision in the near and distance ranges.
Increased demand for contactless consultation. As people continue to maintain social distance, the use of remote refraction devices by optometrists to perform contactless eye exams – of course under observance of the needed hygiene measures – is on the rise.
Due to the use of face masks, the demand for anti-fog solutions for eyeglass lens wearers and cleaning solutions is increasing. Anti-fog lenses help to ensure clear vision during the day. Lens wipes help to keep the glasses clean and clear.
As a result of the sensitive environment, the demand for protection against bacteria and viruses and for more hygiene around optical products is rising.
People want to experience a secure shopping solution. As a result, omnichannel suppliers are becoming increasingly important, especially as they enable a rethink of the customer experience (CX) by offering the best of both worlds – physical and digital – while improving customer safety in the current pandemic.
The ophthalmic landscape has changed significantly this year. The pandemic poses many challenges to industry and society, but there are solutions to handle vision-related challenges, including the health of our eyes.
The columnist is Business Head- Commercial at ZEISS Vision Care India. Views expressed are the author’s own.