Doctors See Increase in Eye Problems Since COVID Onset, What They Are, How To Prevent Them

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LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – This is an unexpected side effect of the pandemic. Doctors said they have seen an exponential increase in eye problems since the onset of COVID-19.

Two ophthalmologists from the Eye Institute of West Florida said they have seen an increase in problems which are exasperated by the increase in screen time and air conditioning, which many of us have done since the start of the pandemic.

“Dry eye is a common disorder among older people especially,” said John Horst, who lives in the Tampa Bay area and has suffered from it for years.

“Dry eye syndrome was affecting my vision and then we started trying different strategies to alleviate this problem,” Horst said.

He said the Eye Institute of West Florida was able to help him.

Doctors say there have been many more cases like his since COVID-19 began.

“We noticed an increase in dry eyes, styes along the edge of the eyelids and blepharitis, a common inflammation around the eyelids and eyelashes,” said Dr. Neel Desai, MD at the Eye Institute of West Florida.

“It doesn’t happen right away,” said Dr. Brandon Clair, MD with The Eye Institute of West Florida. “People wear more masks, like the other doctor mentioned, there is more friction, things like people wear masks incorrectly and it blows the air out on the eye surface, all things that can exacerbate this problem, ”Dr. Clair said.

Ophthalmologists said it wasn’t the virus that caused eye problems, it was the mask and while any mask is better than no mask, both doctors agree that one that fits well will help. to prevent eye problems.

“Having an ill-fitting leaky mask that allows air to escape and through the surface of your eyes is really the root of these problems,” Dr. Desai said.

You can try home remedies like warm compresses or eye drops, but if it gets worse, don’t wait.

“If you have these symptoms now, seek treatment early,” said Dr Desai.

Doctors said that another common problem they have seen is that people get frustrated with their glasses fogging up from masks, so over the past few months they have seen a big increase in LASIK surgery.

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