Brits wear specs to impress

  • 5 Jan 2011

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- 43% of people think glasses make people look more intelligent
- 36% of people think glasses make someone look more professional
- 40% already wear or are considering wearing clear lens glasses they don’t need

With the New Year prompting many people to reconsider their career options, interview candidates and employees looking to set themselves apart from the crowd are considering wearing placebo glasses with clear lenses in a bid to look more intelligent and professional.

According to research by the College of Optometrists, 43 per cent of people think that glasses make someone look more intelligent and 36 per cent believe they make you look more professional and business-like. As a result, 40 per cent of people would consider wearing clear lens glasses that they don’t need in order to get ahead at work and look fashionable.

16 per cent said they already do or would consider wearing glasses to look more intelligent and 10 per cent are wearing glasses to look more professional. The research also indicates that fashion is a big influencer with 6 per cent admitting to wearing glasses they don’t need for fashion purposes and 9 per cent to look more attractive.

According to the latest research from the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO)*, 93 per cent of corrective eyewear sold is for spectacles, demonstrating that despite past negative connotations, glasses still remain king for those who need assistance with their sight. 

Dr Susan Blakeney, Optometric Advisor to the College of Optometrists said: “It’s great to see a shift in how we perceive glasses, but it’s important to remember that regardless of fashion trends, wearing spectacles is about seeing clearly and comfortably, and not just appearance. There is a huge range of spectacles on the market today so it should be easy to find something to suit everyone.”

Isabelle Ratinaud, senior spokesperson from job site commented:  “Given the growing competition in the jobs market, particularly amongst graduates, we’re seeing a rising trend for interview candidates to play it safe and stick to corporate dress. It’s interesting to see that people feel that glasses give off a more professional image but it’s more important to consider your overall appearance, and remember to dress appropriately for the job in mind.”


For more information please contact:
Edie Barton-Harvey/Zoe Belhomme
3 Monkeys Communications
020 7009 3100

Notes to editors
All research unless otherwise stated was conducted on behalf of the College of Optometrists by One Poll amongst 2,000 respondents between 18 December 2009 and  21 December 2009. All results have been weighted and are nationally representative.
*FODO Optics at a Glance report, December 2008,

About The College of Optometrists
1. The College of Optometrists is the Professional, Scientific and Examining Body for Optometry in the UK, working for the public benefit.  Supporting its Members in all aspects of professional development, the College provides pre-registration training and assessment, continuous professional development opportunities, and advice and guidance on professional conduct and standards, enabling our Members to serve their patients well and contribute to the wellbeing of local communities.
2. Previously known as ophthalmic opticians, optometrists are trained professionals who examine eyes, test sight, give advice on visual problems, and prescribe and dispense spectacles or contact lenses. They also recommend other treatments or visual aids where appropriate. Optometrists are trained to recognise eye diseases, referring such cases as necessary, and can also use or supply various eye drugs. 
3. Optometrists study at university for at least three years normally and participate in a full year of training and supervision, called the pre-registration year, before qualifying. Once qualified, they have the opportunity to develop their interests in specialist aspects of practice such as contact lenses, treating eye diseases, low vision, children’s vision and sports vision. 
4. All optometrists practising in the UK must be registered with the General Optical Council, the profession’s regulatory body, and are listed in the Opticians Register. The letters FCOptom or MCOptom after an optometrist’s name means that he or she is a fellow or member of the College of Optometrists. The letters DipCLP after an optometrist’s name means that he or she has undertaken an additional post graduate qualification in contact lens practice.
5. There are currently over 11,500 registered optometrists in the UK.

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