9 June 2021

Coronavision concerns

College of Optometrists encourages the public to seek eye care if they have concerns about their vision or eye health.

  • 31% of Brits noticed their vision get worse since the pandemic1, a marked increase from 22% when surveyed in June 20202
  • 44% believe that spending more time in front of screens has worsened their eyesight, increased from 27% in June 2020
  • 28% believe their eyesight has become worse because of prolonged time spent indoors.

New research from The College of Optometrists has shown that almost one third of adults in Britain (31%) have noticed their vision get worse since the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdowns. Although almost half of those polled (44%) believed that their eyesight has worsened due to increased time in front of screens, many did not take action because they didn’t think the problem was serious enough (29%) or because they were concerned about catching COVID-19 when visiting the optometrist (25%).

Clinical adviser Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom said: “We polled adults about their vision after the first lockdown in June 2020 and again in April 2021, and have seen a marked increase in those worried about their eyesight. It is very important that if you feel your vision has deteriorated or if you are experiencing any problems with your eyes, such as them becoming red or painful, that you should contact your local optometrist. We know many people are concerned about the safety of visiting an optometrist (45%), but please be assured that optometrists are open and are safe to visit. Your practitioner will ensure all the appropriate safety measures are in place. 

“The research also showed us that many people believe that spending more time in front of screens has worsened their vision. You might have increased your exposure to screens with working from home, video calls and more television ,and it can be tiring for your eyes. The good news is that this is unlikely to cause any long lasting harm to your vision.”

The research also revealed:

  • 21% of people struggle with everyday tasks due to problems with their eyesight
  • 38% feel that life would be more fulfilling if they could see better
  • 45% think they should get their sight tested more often that they do.

The College has issued five top tips on avoiding eyestrain.

  1. The 20-20-20 rule. Give your eye muscles a rest. Every 20 mins, look at something 20 foot away, for 20 secs
  2. Remember to BLINK regularly
  3. Have your screen BELOW eye level and between 40 to 75cm away
  4. Make your text size BIGGER to make it more comfortable to read
  5. Use lubricating DROPS if your eyes get dry.

To find your local optometrist College member, and for information about eye health visit: LookAfterYourEyes.org.



  1. Research undertaken by Opinium on behalf of College of Optometrists in April 2021. The sample was 2,000 British adults.
  2. Comparative research undertaken by Opinium on behalf of College of Optometrists in September 2020. The sample was 2,000 British adults.

Note to Editors

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 MCOptom and FCOptom, by building the evidence

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