Knock-on effects of the pandemic on the nation’s eyesight 

Exhausted female worker sit at office desk take off glasses feel unwell having dizziness or blurry vision, tired woman employee suffer from migraine or headache unable to work. Health problem concept

Article by Dr Andy Hepworth, Professional Relations Manager, Essilor 

Despite concern about losing vision as they get older, new research from Essilor shows that the UK’s eyesight has deteriorated over the past year.

1 in 3 people over the age of 40 have admitted to needing to increase the font size on their devices – with 40% of respondents confessing to removing glasses for vanity when going out or taking part in a zoom call.

The research was launched to look into the true effects of the pandemic and more screen-based working. It is a clear indication that someone’s eyesight has deteriorated if they are having to increase the font size on devices – yet people are dismissing this and are putting off going for an eye test. Nearly a quarter of people over the age of 40 have failed to go for an eye check up in the last 3 years, despite over half (55%) being worried about losing their vision as they get older.

The effects of neglected eye health is often not known for many years when a preventable condition is no longer treatable.  To reduce the strain on our eyes caused by increased screen time, Dr Andy Hepworth, Professional Relations Manager, Essilor recommends:

  • Setting screen brightness to low.  
  • Positioning the screen directly in front of your face, slightly lower than eye level, and if it is a laptop or tablet, maintain a certain distance. 
  • Cleaning the screen if necessary 
  • Lowering ambient lighting while working at or watching a screen 
  • Blinking more often to combat dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes take a pause of 20 seconds and look at something 20 feet away (6 meters). 
  • Having regular eye tests. Most people should have their eyes checked at least once every two years. Eye tests don’t just alert us to how a person’s vision had changed, but it can also be an early indicator that there is an underlaying health condition – such as diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer.

It’s really important that people of any age, which of course includes over 40, have regular eye tests. With 70% of people in the UK wearing corrective eye wear, more education is needed to ensure they understand the importance of having regular eye check-ups.

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