This article is part of Optometry Advisor’s conference coverage from the 2021 meeting of the American Academy of Optometry, held in Boston from November 3 to 6, 2021. The team at Optometry Advisor will be reporting on a variety of the research presented by the primary eye care experts at the AAO. Check back for more from the AAO Optometry 2021 Meeting..

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, stranding many Americans at home instead of in offices, schools, or retail settings, many stopped getting dressed up. Sweatpants and pajamas replaced office attire and back-to-school outfits. The same held true for eyewear choices, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Optometry 2021 meeting that shows patients, on average, wore their contact lenses approximately 1 fewer days per week than they had prior to the pandemic. 


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Investigators Erin Rueff, OD, PhD, FAAO and  Elaine Chen, OD, FAAO, of Southern California College of Optometry (Marshall B. Ketchum University), employed a survey distributed via email to their institution’s faculty, staff, and student population. The survey asked participants how their vision correction habits changed following the March 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was returned by 133 participants (mean age 33.6±12.7 years, 78.2% women). The survey itself was issued in January 2021. 

The results showed that 58.6% (n=78) reported habitual contact lens wear at the time of the survey. In the entire sample, spectacle wear time increased in hours per day (1.1±4.0, P =.001) and days per week (0.3±2.0, P =.04). 

The survey also found the respondents experienced an increase in mean digital screen time, by 2.9±2.5 hours (P <.0001). 

The researchers reported that increases in days-per-week and hours-per-day of spectacle wear were both associated with increased digital screen times (P =.04 and P =.002, respectively). In contact lens wearers, the study noted a decrease in days-per-week (-1.0±2.5, P <.001) but not in hours-per-day of contact lens wear (-1.0±4.5, P =.07). The reduction in days-per-week contact lens wear was associated with increased screen time (P =.004). 

Neither changes in contact lens wear, nor spectacle wear time (days-per-week or hours-per-day) were associated with age, gender, or refractive error magnitude.

Visit Optometry Advisor’s conference section for complete coverage of AAO 2021.

 

Reference


Rueff E, Chen E. Vision correction habits after COVID-19 in spectacle and contact lens wearers. Poster presented at American Academy of Optometry 2021 meeting; November 3-6; Boston. Board #36.