Our initial report, released in 2011 (research carried out in 2010), gave an overview of the public’s approach to eye health, and their knowledge about eye conditions and related issues.
Based on a nationally representative sample of 4,004 adults aged 18-60 living in the UK, it revealed that the vast majority of the population (86%) value sight more than any other sense, and view sight tests as the most important medical check-up they should attend. However, despite this, a significant proportion of the population were not taking precautions to maintain healthy eyes.
Now we have published the Britain's Eye Health in Focus report 2013, based on research carried out in August 2012. YouGov ran a survey of 4,032 UK adults with an additional 320 Asian and African-Caribbean respondents.
It shows that the number of UK adults who view sight tests as 'very important' has risen from 39% in 2011 to 52%.
Unfortunately, 31% of people are not aware that glaucoma can run in families, and 72% of people in groups at risk of developing certain eye conditions are not aware that they could be at increased risk.
At risk groups are still not taking action. Five per cent of people aged over 40 said that they have not been for a sight test for at least 10 years (or could not remember when they last went), and 11% of people from minority ethnic groups said the same. 40% of people from minority ethnic backgrounds said that they hadn't had a sight test in the last two years because they didn't think it was necessary.
We also need to educate people about the role of the optometrist: half of UK adults do not know how to tell if an optometrist is qualified, and only 45% would turn to an optometrist in the first instance to find out the cause of an eye problem.