Press release

Give eyes essential care advise optometrists as lockdown takes its toll

Why making time for eye care has never been more important

Eye Care Essentals campaign header

From an increase in eye injuries from DIY to buying sub-standard contact lenses online – coronavirus has brought some unexpected and worrying trends for our eye health. While routine eye care is currently suspended, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is reminding the public that there’s never been a more important time to look after your eyes with essential advice to keep them healthy.  
  
Optometrist and AOP spokesperson Henry Leonard, said: “Unfortunately, the shift in lifestyle is taking a toll on many people’s eye health. Oxford Eye Hospital was one of the first to report a spike in serious eye injuries as more people are doing DIY and gardening projects during lockdown, but this is something optical practices across the country are experiencing. Patients are needing to have foreign objects removed or chemical burns treated because they are not wearing safety googles. Other areas of concern include people buying contact lenses from unregulated suppliers online and a surge in people experiencing headaches and eye strain as they turn to television, mobile and computer screens for work and entertainment.”     

Highlighting the warning signs to be aware of Mr Leonard explained: “Sudden changes to your vision such as flashes, floaters or blurry vision, or your eyes becoming red and painful, could be a sign of a more serious condition." 

Commenting about eye care in the current crisis, Mr Leonard said: “At the moment people are unable to visit their optometrist for routine eye care but that doesn’t mean you can’t access advice. Many practices are still open for essential and urgent care, such as if you get something lodged in your eye and may also be able to help if you have a problem with your contact lenses or you’ve broken your glasses. Optometrists are trained to identify visual problems and many conditions and will often be able to do this via a remote consultation or will ask you to come in, if needed. Call your usual practice to find out, they will direct you to another that’s near if they are closed.”    

“There are many things people can still do to protect their vision – including making sure they have eye protection to do DIY, taking regular breaks from their screen and buying contact lenses from a reputable supplier. Visit the AOP website for lots of helpful patient advice on keeping eyes healthy” Mr Leonard added. 

An estimated 30,000 eye injuries are caused by DIY accidents every year – Oxford Eye Hospital reported six in a week in April, where one in every two to three weeks would be typical.  

To share essential eye health advice the AOP is launching a series of graphics and videos for social media www.aop.org.uk/eyecareessentials 

For more information about eye care and top tips for healthy eyes, see the AOP website www.aop.org.uk/patients 

Ends

For more information, please contact Serena Box, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2040.

Hi-res images are available in this DropBox folder.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 82% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit www.aop.org.uk