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North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub


ByDave Stopher

May 25, 2021
  • Almost a quarter of adults in the North East (24 per cent) believe no diseases can be spotted during eye exams, despite diabetes and some types of cancers being visible
  • Encouragingly, more than one in eight people (83 per cent) of adults in the North East say their eye health is very important to them
  • More than 100,000 adults across the region never had their eyes tested
  • Adults across the region are willing to pay more for the most advanced technology in their eye exams
  • Survey commissioned by retinal imaging tech experts, Optos

Almost a quarter of adults in the North East believe no diseases can be spotted during eye exams – potentially putting their health at risk.

The survey of North East adults was commissioned by retinal imaging technology experts, Optos. It revealed that more than one in eight (83 per cent) of people in the region considered their eye health as very important to them.

Despite caring about the health of their eyes, 135,520 have never had their eyes tested.[1] The pandemic has also prevented more than two-fifths (44 per cent) from attending appointments. More than half (58 per cent) of those surveyed said it was because they worried about how safe it was to attend, while 21 per cent said there were no appointments available and 24 per cent were shielding or self-isolating.

Gareth Steer, VP of European Sales at Optos said: “Over the past year, we’ve all been spending more time at home and in front of screens. From working at a laptop or sitting watching TV, there are increasing concerns around eye health and a rise in cases of eye strain.

“Sight loss prevention charity, Fight for Sight, recently found that more than a third[2] of people felt their eyesight had worsened since the start of the pandemic.

“We want people across the North East to know that opticians using advanced retinal imaging technology are able to carry out their appointments in a safe way and will be able to identify any potential problems early, reducing the risk of eye disease and protecting eyesight.”

Encouragingly, people across the region do see the value in having the best eye exam possible and value expert advice. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) state that they want the reassurance that potential issues are found early.

Opticians were considered the number one authority on eye health. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) said that they always follow the advice of their optician, above GPs (58 per cent), nurses (44 per cent) and pharmacists (37 per cent).

Six in 10 (63 per cent) said they would pay more for an eye exam that uses more advanced imaging technology because their eye health is so important to them.

Despite this, almost half (45 per cent) do not realise signs of diabetes are visible in a retinal eye exam, 49 per cent do not realise certain cancers can be detected, while 24 per cent don’t believe any eye diseases can be found in a retinal eye exam at all.

Gareth Steer added: “Getting your eyes tested is crucial but while the NHS sight test does perform an internal and external assessment, digital imaging isn’t always used. Advanced imaging technology is proven to support opticians in spotting potentially vision and life-altering issues early. This includes diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure and detached retinas.

“A big part of this is education. We need to be more aware of the importance of eye care and attending eye appointments, even if you don’t think you have any issues. Advanced retinal imaging technology means opticians can carry out a very detailed exam quickly and from a safe distance.

“At Optos, we’re doing all we can to help raise awareness around the benefits of regular eye care examinations. The survey clearly shows that eye health is very important to people across the North East so it’s essential we all make our vision a priority and ensure we find problems and treat them early.”



For further press information, please contact Melissa Clark at Citypress: 0131 460 9769 / Melissa.clark@citypress.co.uk

For further information about Optos, please visit https://www.optos.com/en-gb/

Notes to editors

  • The research was carried out by independent research company Censuswide in January 2021 and surveyed a representative sample of 103 adults aged 16+ in the North East.
  • Optos is the only company in the world that provides ultra-widefield imaging technology, which gives a 200° view of the retina in a single capture, known as optomap®.
  • Optos was founded 29 years ago by Douglas Anderson. Douglas developed the ground-breaking optomap retinal imaging technology following his five-year old son losing his eyesight in one eye due to a retinal detachment.
  • The imaging technology provides optometrists and ophthalmologists with a bigger picture and more clinical information. This facilitates eye care professionals in the early detection, management and effective treatment of disorders and diseases evidenced in the retina including retinal detachments and tears, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.
  • Today, more than 127 million patients have benefited from Optos’ patient-friendly retinal imaging system, which produces the only true ultra-widefield images of the retina in a single capture.
  • The company, which is now owned by Nikon, has offices across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

[1] Based on 6.16% of 2.2 million, the adult population of the North East

[2] Fight for Sight