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Some ophthalmologists around the country are noticing a spike in children’s vision problems as Americans emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

When schools closed down and switched to distance learning in early 2020, many young students stayed indoors and spent longer than ever staring at screens up close. In a recent parent survey, 70% of mothers and fathers reported that their kids spend at least four hours a day on electronic devices.

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Summertime often means long hours in the sun. Most of us remember to protect our skin by applying sunblock, but don’t forget that your eyes need protection as well. It is important to start wearing proper eye protection at an early age to shield your eyes from years of ultraviolet exposure.

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Everyone knows sunglasses make it easier to see on a sunny day, whether out on the road or the water. However, wearing the right sunglasses is also a great defense against ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause short- and long-term eye damage, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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Housework and sports are two of the most common causes of eye injuries. But even cooking or playing with your dog or cat can get you a scratched eye. You might have symptoms right away or the symptoms may start or get worse hours after the injury.

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Basketball remains the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in the United States. But getting athletes of any age or skill level to wear protective eyewear is a tough sell.

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You may have heard somewhere that looking at a computer, smartphone or other digital screen for long periods of time will permanently damage your eyes.

Thankfully, this is like the old adage about “ruining your eyes” from watching too much television or sitting too close to the TV: it’s simply not true. However, you probably notice some uncomfortable effects from staring at your screen too long.

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People with diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy.

This is when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak. Or they can close, stopping blood from passing through. Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina. All of these changes can steal your vision.

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A recent survey found two out of three Americans falsely believe vision loss is inevitable as we age.

Sure, aging can affect your eyes — but vision loss is not the norm. For 2020: Year of the Eye, the American Academy of Ophthalmology presents 20 common changes to vision and eye health that aging adults should watch for, and the best ways to protect your sight.

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Nation’s pediatric ophthalmologists struggle to survive the COVID-19 shutdown

Pediatric ophthalmologists are a rarity in medicine. There are only about a thousand of them to serve America’s 75 million children. And as other physicians fled private practice for hospitals or have been gobbled up by private equity firms, most pediatric ophthalmologists remain in private practice. Unfortunately, the factors that make the specialty uncommon have also made pediatric ophthalmologists and their patients uncommonly vulnerable to the ravages of the COVID-19 shutdown.

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Vision screenings for young children usually take place during wellness visits to the pediatrician.

But with wellness visits declining during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), many children’s eyes may go unchecked. This could delay the diagnosis and treatment of childhood eye conditions — particularly for children from disadvantaged households, who were already prone to missing vision screens before the pandemic.

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