21 October 2020

Do not adjust your set: Britain really is losing its focus

The first ever completely blurred film, Focus on Life is launched today to highlight the national issue of our worsening eyesight and its impact on our lives.

  • The College of Optometrists has teamed up with BAFTA award-nominated director Mark Nunneley from the Ridley Scott Creative Group to direct a film that people can't actually see - because it has been shot entirely out of focus.
  • The College of Optometrists commissioned the film as part of a public awareness campaign, after research1 revealed that 66% of the population admit to having difficulty with blurred vision, with one in ten (11%) choosing to sit closer to the TV rather than having their eyes tested
  • The campaign, called Focus on Life is supported by Love Island’s Theo Campbell who was left blind in one eye after he was struck by a champagne cork in a freak accident

A new campaign Focus on Life has been launched today by the College of Optometrists to address the alarming number of Brits who are living their lives out of focus due to worsening eyesight – with many not even realising they suffer from the problem. According to new research two-thirds (66%) of British adults admit to experiencing blurred vision and a third (35%) believe their vision has markedly deteriorated in the past two years.

To address the problem, director Mark Nunneley has turned filmmaking on its head by making a film you can't see - because not one single frame has been shot in focus. The film named Focus on Life delves into stories told by four people, but the camera mimics the eyes of a person with worsening eyesight.

The five-minute film created by BAFTA award-nominated director Mark Nunneley, captures idiosyncratic life memories from the perspective of those who struggle with blurred vision to raise awareness of the importance of eye health for The College of Optometrists. The film features the little things that those with good eyesight may take for granted, from a walk along a beach to fishing from a boat.

Mark Nunneley comments on making the very first out of focus film: "Lockdown gave me the opportunity to reflect on how to approach this project, and how to capture this out of focus world. Sight and focus are crucial for me to tell stories as a filmmaker, from the creative to the direction and cinematography. I hope that our simple, life affirming message will connect with the viewer as we invite them to pause and reflect on their own lives and the importance of focus.”

The launch of the short film which is also being supported by reality star Theo Campbell who was left blind in one eye after a freak accident, and Georgia Harrison who feels passionately about the cause, follows research that also reveals that two fifths (35%) of Brits feel their eyesight has deteriorated in the past two years, with a fifth (18%) also admitting to struggling with everyday tasks due to their eyesight. Of those that have had an eye test, one in five (20%) admit their eyesight test results were worse than they expected.

The research by The College of Optometrists also shows that worryingly, over one in ten (11%) UK adults would rather sit closer to the TV than get their eyes tested. Similarly, 17% would rather make the text bigger on their phone when reading messages than get an eye test. One in 10 (10%) of those that have never had a sight test admit they believe their eyes are fine and 6% confess to being too lazy to book one.

Other findings from the research reveal:

  • 38% of the UK population feel like their life would be more fulfilling if they could see better
  • 39% admit they should get their sight tested more often than they do
  • 23% of parents admit they never take their children to get their sight tested
  • 26% would rather go to the dentist than get their eyes checked

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser for The College of Optometrists said: “It’s shocking that people struggle with their eyesight but do not get their sight tested until they have a big problem. We’re committed to encouraging people to get their sight checked regularly and educate people on the importance of looking after our eye health. The launch of our short out of focus film today is a testament to this and we hope to get people thinking about their vision and booking an appointment with their optometrist as a result.”

For a large number of people, unless they address issues with their eyesight, the future really will look as blurred as depicted in Mark’s film. That impacts not only health, work and safety issues, but our ability to seeing the everyday things we truly love whether it’s our children, nature, sport or simply the latest episode of Love Island. Making an appointment today could be the first step to seeing the future as it should be and living without regret”.

The short film can be viewed below, or on The College of Optometrists YouTube page.

Find out more about the College of Optometrists.

All optometric practices are following government guidance and optometrists wearing PPE, to ensure each patient visit is safe. If you have any concerns about your vision, book an appointment with your local optometrist, you can find a directory of College members on our patient website: www.lookafteryoureyes.org.

The College has created a series of patient-focused videos related to COVID-19 and eye care:


Notes to Editors 

  1. Research undertaken by Opinium on behalf of College of Optometrists in September 2020. The sample was 2,000 British adults.

About College of Optometrists 
The College is the professional body for optometry. It qualifies the profession and delivers the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.

Members of the College are entitled to use the letters MCOptom or FCOptom (if they are a Fellow) after their name. Members must sign up to a code of conduct, so you can be confident that they are committed to the very highest clinical, ethical and professional standards.

About Ridley Scott Creative Group
Ridley Scott Creative Group is a creative studio that has brought together the entertainment industry’s greatest selection of directors, designers, photographers, illustrators, experiential artists and more - to create stories that shape the future of entertainment. Their work spans some of the most culturally transformative and influential creative across every medium from social to silver-screen and everything in between.

Related further reading

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The virtual Hospital Eye Service experience replaces the in-person experience pre-registration trainees would normally have gained in a hospital setting.

The virtual Hospital Eye Service experience replaces the in-person experience pre-registration trainees would normally have gained in a hospital setting.