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Nov 2, 2021

The Impact of COVID-19 on Eye CARE IN Canada

For many of us, time seemed to have stood still during the pandemic with staggering lockdowns across the country, but when it comes to vision loss, there is no such thing as stopping the hands of time because time = sight and time is of the essence for early diagnosis.

Unfortunately, the restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic made it very challenging for Canadians to keep eye care appointments and treatments, with 143,000 eye surgeries being canceled. Ultimately, an estimated 1437 people experienced lost vision in 2020 in Canada. Those numbers are alarming, to say the least, especially since the federal government has promised four times since 2003 to create a national eye health plan that prioritizes eye health so that in cases such as that of a pandemic, there would have been a framework to ensure eye care continued uninterrupted.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 continues to challenge the Canadian healthcare system, and undoubtedly, the full extent of reduced eye care continues to be experienced. Still, one thing is for sure we need to make eye health a priority to stop preventable blindness and access treatment to save sight.

Report Findings

  • The Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Eye Health in Canada Report estimates 1,437 Canadians experienced vision loss due to delayed eye examinations and delayed treatment in 2020.
  • There were almost 3 million fewer optometry visits in 2020 compared to 2019, putting millions of Canadians at serious risk of losing vision.
  • A $1.3 billion increase in the cost of vision loss over the next 2.5 years … already at $32.9 billion in 2019
  • Over 8 million Canadians live with a blinding eye disease that puts them at risk of vision loss. However, three-quarters of cases of vision loss in Canada are reversible, preventable, or treatable if diagnosed early and with access to treatments.

We need to make eye health services a health priority. Visit StopVisionLoss.ca to read the full report and sign our petition asking the Canadian government to create a national vision health plan today.


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