Research published by The College of Optometrists to mark National Eye Health Week has shown that only 14% of people would visit an optometrist as a priority when thinking about taking care of their body(1). However, a separate poll commissioned by the College showed that 31% of people noticed their vision get worse since the COVID-19 induced pandemic(2), and 44% believe that spending more time in front of screens has worsened their eyesight(2).
The poll also showed strong recognition of the term ‘optometrist’ with 83% of respondents identifying optometrists as an expert in eye health. Recognition was lowest in those aged 18-34, with 30% of respondents unable to make the connection between an optometrist and eye health.
Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser at the College said: “These statistics show us that sadly many people are not prioritising their eye health at a time when they may have concerns about their vision. We know from polls that people may have had concerns about the safety of visiting an optometrist in the past, but please be assured that optometrists are open and are safe to visit. Your practitioner will ensure all the appropriate safety measures are in place.
“It is very important that if you feel your vision has deteriorated or if you are experiencing any problems with your eyes, such as them becoming red or painful, you should contact your local optometrist. We know that people believe that spending more time in front of screens during lockdown has worsened their vision. You might have increased your exposure to screens working from home, video calls and more television, and it can be tiring for your eyes. The good news is that this is unlikely to cause any long lasting harm to your vision.”
If you have any concerns about your vision, book an appointment with your local optometrist, you can find a directory of College members on our patient website: LookAfterYourEyes.org
The College has developed an animation explaining the role of the optometrist which can be accessed on our YouTube channel.
The College has created a series of patient-focused videos related to COVID-19 and eye care: