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Study reveals one in four Brits have admitted to eyesight deteriorating during lockdown

ByJane Sloane

Sep 3, 2021


A recent survey commissioned by eyesight experts All About Vision has revealed how many Brits can’t identify symptoms of the most common eye problems.

When questioned if they could notice the signs, nearly half (43%) of respondents weren’t able to spot the signs of floaters and 42% were unable to identify the signs of eye fatigue.

As well as this, 88% wouldn’t know if they had uveitis and 53% wouldn’t know if they were suffering from any tearing.

Despite not being able to spot the symptoms, worryingly, over one in four  (28%) of Brits don’t consider their eye health a priority, with many not taking regular precautions to protect their eyes. 27% haven’t even visited an optician in over two years.

The findings from this survey will raise concerns as during lockdown many Brits reported that they had experienced an increase in eye related problems   – with 25% saying their vision has worsened and 38% having suffered more headaches now than they did before lockdown.

With so many Brits unaware of how to check for common eye problems, leading optometrist Dr. Pamela Miller, medical reviewer for All About Vision, is providing her top tips on how to spot if you’re suffering from an eye condition:

  1. Floaters

These can look like tiny spots, specks or flecks that drift aimlessly around in your vision. They aren’t a cause for concern and are very common. However, if you see a shower of floaters and spots, especially if they are accompanied by flashes of light, you should seek medical attention immediately from an optician.

  1. Eye Fatigue

Symptoms for eye fatigue can vary, but the most common ones are dry eyes, watery eyes, headaches, light sensitivity and blurred or double vision.

Eye fatigue is generally caused by spending too much time on digital devices, so make sure to take regular breaks from laptops, tablets and phones throughout the day.

If the symptoms do continue to persist, it’s best to get checked by your optician.

  1. Uveitis

Uveitis is inflammation of the middle layer of the eyeball, which consists of the iris, ciliary, body and choroid. Collectively, these structures are called the uvea. Symptoms include light sensitivity, decreased eye acuity, eye pain and red eyes.

If you have any of these symptoms, visit your opticians where they will be able to prescribe you a steroid to help with the inflammation.

  1. Tearing

Watery eyes are usually temporary and can be treated with eye drops or by giving your eyes a break from digital devices, but constant watering could be a sign of an underlying condition.

The most common causes for watery eyes include allergies, digital eye strain, old or torn contact lenses, and debris (such as a loose eyelash).

If your eyes are watering from allergies, eye strain or fatigue, you can press a cold spoon to your closed eyelids to relax your strained capillaries or use a warm compress to soften your meibum.

Omega-3s, flaxseed oil and drinking more water can naturally moisten your eyes, so they can stop doing more work than necessary. For general eye health, you can also consume more vitamin A and beta-carotene.

  1. Blurry vision

Blurry vision is the loss of sharpness of eyesight, making objects appear out of focus and hazy.

If you’re starting to experience difficulty in reading things far away, increased headaches or words becoming blurry and difficult to read when you hold them close to your eyes, it’s best to get an eye test booked in with your opticians who will be able to help with your vision.

Speaking about the results, Dr Miller says: “Eye health is always on the bottom of people’s health lists, as many prioritise doctors appointments, and even dentist appointments, over check-ups with their optician.

“This is due to the fact that many of us don’t see the impact our everyday lives have on our eyes, compared to our general health when we might feel unwell or suffer from toothache.

“However, this lack of prevention has meant many people have reported increases in suffering from common eye ailments. For example, our research revealed 38% are experiencing more headaches now compared to before lockdown.

“With many of us working from home and spending more time on digital devices, 41% are now spending an average of 10+ hours a day on some form of digital device, it has never been more important to look after our eyes.

“I’m strongly advising people to read up and educate themselves on how they can look after their eyes, attend their opticians appointments and ensure to take regular breaks from digital devices. Simple changes can really help prevent damages in eye sight and quality.”

The top eye conditions Brits are unable to identify:

  1. Uveitis (88%)

  2. Tearing (53%)

  3. Floaters (43%)

  4. Dry eyes (29%)

  5. Blurry vision (25%)

If you would like to review the full results, please visit the All About Vision website.