Eye disease going unseen

Image supplied by H2 Vision Centre

Why COVID uncertainty is affecting our eye health:

  • People are avoiding potentially life-saving eye health appointments because of COVID.
  • There’s an increased risk of preventable eye disease, and other eye health issues going undetected in the community.
  • Sedentary behaviour and screen time trends among adults and children are adding to the problem.

As COVID-19 cases started climbing, Mark Hartley’s phone was ringing off the hook, for all the wrong reasons.

He started noticing a worrying trend, others wouldn’t necessarily see – Clients, young and old, were calling and cancelling appointments.

Mark Hartley – Director, H2 Vision Centres

“The rules are constantly changing, people are avoiding regular eye health appointments, which can lead to serious issues for some patients,” Mark Hartley, the Director of H2 Vision Centres said.

Mark’s Sippy Downs Optometrist has been a go-to for thousands of Sunshine Coast residents for close to 8 years.

With cutting-edge instruments and decades of experience, Mark and his team have helped save and even restored the eyesight of countless patients.

“The problem is now, because of COVID, patients are putting off appointments for as long as they can.

“Obviously the result is scary for our patients’ eye health care, particularly in the older demographic.

“We have an ageing population and unfortunately it goes hand-in-hand with eye disease, some genetic, some dietary, and some that are silent killers of sight.”

H2 Optometrist Dr Clodagh Sinnott said some symptoms aren’t obvious until it’s often too late.

“Eye disease in patients over 50 – such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration – can lead to blindness, but are hard to detect.”

But it’s not just the over-50s which are suffering as a result.

Eye strain, myopia (commonly known as shortsightedness) is a growing problem in children and adults with the increased use of devices, computers and television.

young lady using laptop at table in modern workspace

“This increase has been largely due to COVID and adults working at home, and kids spending more time indoors – the hangover from lockdowns,” Dr Sinnott said.

“These eye problems can be fixed, but can’t be spotted and treated unless our patients start coming back.”

Mark said his practice is doing everything possible to ensure it stays a COVID-free environment, including keeping his doors wide open.

Facebook Image: H2 Vision Centre

“We love that we have a big open space with a beautiful natural flow of fresh air from outside.

“We monitor our team for any signs and symptoms, we use RAT tests for surveillance, and we mask-up and regularly hand-wash.

“We also have a really flexible cancellation policy. We want our patients to be as safe, comfortable, and healthy as possible.”

Mark Hartley
H2 Vision Centres,
7/11 Chancellor Village Blvd, Sippy Downs QLD 4556
(07) 5353 5080

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