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UK public takes casual attitude to eye health

A lax attitude towards eye health among the UK public has been identified by latest research released alongside World Sight Day (October 9).

The survey of 2,000 adults, carried out by vision charity Orbis, found 93 per cent did not consider eye health the top concern when it came to their overall wellbeing. This was despite 45 per cent of the respondents valuing sight the most of their five senses.

Conditions including heart disease, a stroke, cancer and dementia were of more concern to those surveyed than eye health, but diabetes was of less concern.

Brian Little, Orbis ambassador and consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said: ‘Brits tell us they value their sight more than any other sense, yet our study shows four in five admit they lack knowledge about eye health and eye diseases. The alarming reality is that the number of people at risk of losing their sight in the UK is increasing – numbers are set to double to over four million by 2050, due to an ageing population and increased risk of obesity and diabetes, making sight loss a very real issue for the British public.’

Further results from the poll revealed 14 per cent did not know how often they should have their eyes tested, while 48 per cent had their eyes tested every two years. It showed 11 per cent of people were worried they would develop cataract or glaucoma – but only 20 per cent felt knowledgeable on eye health and different eye diseases.

‘As a nation we know we have access to eye health services if our sight begins to deteriorate and this may make the issue less urgent in people’s minds. We are very lucky. In many of the countries in which Orbis works, access to eye care is severely limited and losing your vision will often mean losing your livelihood or even worse,’ added Little.

(By Joe Ayling www.opticianonline.net)

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