Poll reveals few Britons aware that their eyes are at daily risk

Survey shows people unaware of impact of poor diet, obesity, smoking and UV rays on ocular health

30 Sep 2015 by Robina Moss

A YouGov poll conducted with lens and equipment company Essilor has revealed that most Britons are unaware of damage to their eyes by their lifestyle choices, devices and the environment.

The poll has shown that many British people remain uninformed about the various ways in which eyes are damaged by common daily factors, despite evidence that eye health is affected by diet, obesity, and smoking, as well as by blue light and UV rays reflected from surfaces.

Of the 2,096 adults who took part in the online poll, 59% were unaware of the link with poor diet and eye health, on obesity it was 35% and on smoking tobacco it was 36%.

Regarding the risks of UV light, not just direct from the sun but reflected off of shiny surfaces, 54% were unaware of the link with eye health and on the topic of blue light from low energy lightbulbs and electronic screens, it was 29%.

Over one in 10 people were completely unaware that any of these factors could affect eyesight at all.

In the poll, 72% of respondents owned or wore prescription spectacles but only 28% knew that there were lenses available to protect against blue light emitted from electronic devices and low energy light bulbs, and UV light, not only directly from the sun but also from reflections such as off of water, windows and road surfaces.

The survey was conducted between August 21–24 and 76% of respondents admitted they had not heard of E-SPF ratings, the grade given to lenses to show the level of protection they offer against UV.

Just 13% had lenses with protection from direct and reflected UV light, and only 2% had protection from blue light.

The poll results showed that younger people were most aware of the dangers of UV and blue light, yet least aware of how smoking tobacco and obesity can affect eye health. Within social grades, ABC1 (upper/middle class) were more aware of the effects of smoking and obesity on eyesight than those belonging to C2DE (lower middle/working class).

The results were that 39% of those in ABC1 compared to 33% in C2DE were aware of the impact of smoking tobacco and 38% of those in ABC1, compared to 31% in C2DE, were aware of the impact of obesity.

The poll also revealed some interesting regional variations. Awareness of the impacts of smoking and obesity on eye health were significantly higher in Scotland, 47% and 49% respectively, than anywhere else in the UK, 35% and 33% in England and 40% and 38% in Wales.

Essilor’s professional relations manager, Andy Hepworth, said: “The lack of awareness about these common risks to people’s eyes is concerning. Not only would many more glasses wearers be better protected, but also many people who do not wear glasses would be more likely take precautions too, if made aware of the dangers and the existence of non-prescription protective lenses.”

To see the full results of the poll, visit bit.ly/1FHxaMV


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