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  • 22% of Brits noticed their vision get worse during lockdown
  • 32% believe that spending more time in front of screens has worsened their eyesight
  • But over half of Brits (59%) are concerned about contracting coronavirus during an appointment with an optometrist

MILLIONS of Brits could be suffering from eye problems dubbed ‘coronavision’ after feeling that their sight deteriorated during lockdown, according to a study for the College of Optometrists.

One in five adults in the country say they think their vision has become worse in the past four months, with one in three blaming it on too much screen time.

Symptoms include blurry vision, difficulty focusing, and red or painful eyes, but many sufferers have simply put it down to eyestrain and thought it too trivial to seek help.

Over half would be concerned about attending an optometrist appointment because they are scared it will put them at risk of coronavirus.

The College of Optometrists, who commissioned an independent study of 2,000 people, warned: If you have symptoms get your eyes checked.

Clinical adviser Dr Susan Blakeney said: “The research showed us that many people believe that spending more time in front of screens has worsened their vision. Working from home, video calls with friends and family, watching more TV, time spent looking at your phone…all that screen time adds up. The good news is that this is unlikely to cause any permanent harm to your vision.

“However, 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 contact your local optometrist. They will be able to discuss this with you and advise if you need to come in to see them.

“We understand people are concerned about contracting coronavirus. But all optometrists should be following our guidance to ensure your visit is safe.” You can watch a video explaining what patients can expect and how they can prepare for a visit to their optometrist here.

The College has issued five top tips on avoiding eyestrain.

  1. The 20-20-20 rule. Give your eye muscles a rest. Every 20 mins look at some-thing 20 ft away for 20 secs.
  2. Remember to BLINK regularly.
  3. Have your screen BELOW eye level and between 40 to 75cm away.
  4. Make your text size BIGGER if you’re struggling to see it.
  5. Use DROPS if your eyes get dry.

To find your local optometrist, visit our directory on our website


Note to Editors

  1. The College is the professional body for optometry. We qualify the profession and deliver the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.
  2. The survey results are from an online survey conducted by Opinium, with a sample of 2,000 nationally representative UK adults (18+), fieldwork took place from 9th to 11th June 2020. Results are available upon request.
  3. The College is working with Anglia Ruskin University on some research to help understand whether the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on the management of eye disorders, and whether it has caused undue stress and anxiety. Members of the public can complete the survey even if they have not had Covid-19 or suffered any symptoms of Covid-19. To complete the survey, you should be above 18 years of age and should have eye or sight problems (which also includes the use of spectacles). Participants can complete the survey here.


July 10, 2020