Specsavers warns people to get eyes checked following Lockdown eases

THOUSANDS of people across the London region could be walking around with undetected serious eye and health conditions, such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and even heart disease, because they’ve missed their regular eye test.


Findings released by Specsavers indicate that, between March and September 2020 one in two people (51%) across London missed an eye test, meaning many may have an eye or health condition that they are unaware of. In total across the London region, there were 341,496 missed sight tests. Further research by Specsavers has revealed that at least one in five people (18%) fear they might have a serious underlying sight condition, while one in ten (8%) worry that they have a potentially significant issue with their hearing.


While (38%) of London adults think either their sight, hearing or both have deteriorated since the pandemic began – half of those (46%) have not yet booked a test. According to the research as part of Specsavers Hindsight Report, one in four (25%) people across London have also missed a hearing test in the last year.


Giles Edmonds, Specsavers Clinical services director, says: ‘Regular examinations are capable of picking up so much more than whether or not someone can see normally.


‘During the last 12 months we have made far fewer referrals and detected far less anomalies than would be expected in this time period because people have been cancelling their appointments for various reasons like self-isolating or nervousness around leaving their home.


‘Understandably, many have missed appointments due to the pandemic, however so many potentially dangerous illnesses are highlighted during eye tests. And when you consider the number who have missed a test in the last year, there are potentially a high number of people going about their lives with no idea about a catastrophic illness could be avoided by having a simple test.’


One in five (20%) adults across the region have felt eye fatigue in the last year, while 22% have experienced dry eyes or headaches (20%). Yet 55% haven’t sought medical advice believing them not to be a major problem – or not wanting to waste NHS time and resource.The research shows that many were aware a standard eye test can detect cataracts, glaucoma or retinal detachments, however 13% were unaware they can identify signs of a potential stroke. Over half of people (64%) admitted they don’t always know what they’re looking for when it comes to health-related warning signs, while 51% admit to avoiding thinking about any health conditions they may have.

Of the 35% who tend to put off things like an eyesight check, 45% do so because they think the changes are so small, they’re almost unnoticeable. Of those who have felt their sight and hearing have deteriorated, worrying about being up close to others outside of their household (37%), feeling it was too early to be into contact with others (32%) and simply not getting round to it yet (33%) were the main reasons for not booking a test. But while people have been avoiding appointments at all costs, the Hindsight report indicates a surge in adults researching health concerns online – Specsavers has also seen an increase in online enquires to its website and Ask The Expert Facebook Group too.


Giles adds: ‘While our stores have been open throughout the pandemic, with the rest of the high street opening up, people may start to feel more comfortable making their appointments once again. In fact, we have already seen an increase in calls asking if we’re open.


‘As our research shows people have understandably been apprehensive about coming into contact with others, but we want to assure customers that we have stringent safety measures in place and enhanced cleaning routines to make visits as safe as possible.


‘Luckily, we can catch people through our website and direct them to the right place for correct advice. But we are concerned that there are many people out there using search engines for self-diagnosis and potentially coming across DIY tips that are not medically robust or safe to do.


‘It is so important that anyone with any concerns seeks advice from a professional. An eye test doesn’t just pick up changes in vision but can also detect wider health concerns too.’

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Role models inspire Kids to feel ‘cool and confident’ and wear their specs with pride

CHILDREN are more confident than their parents were when it comes to wearing glasses because they feel ‘happy’, ‘cool’ and ‘clever’.


Research by Specsavers [1] a decade ago revealed that wearing glasses often provoked bullying, however a new study [2] by the high street opticians reveals a decline in name-calling and an increase in self-assurance among younger specs wearers.


One in five parents said they felt self-conscious wearing glasses as a child because they were bullied or picked on, compared to 77% of children aged five to 16 who said they are confident wearing glasses because they make them feel happy (34%), cool (32%) and clever (29%).


Proving that glasses are now viewed as a must-have accessory, more than a third of children (34%) who don’t currently wear them said that they would also feel cool if they were prescribed specs.


Bianca Sarre, Specsavers style advisor, says: ‘Our research shows just how much the times have changed and it’s wonderful that, instead of feeling self-conscious or at worst, bullied, children are now happy to wear their specs and wear them with pride. Many people now see their glasses as a fashion accessory and an extension of their style, and for children in particular, there are many glasses-wearing role models for them to look up to, which may have been less the case when their parents were young.’


The most popular specs-wearing heroes for children, according to the Specsavers study, are Harry Potter (57%) and Superman (41%). Heartwarmingly, 45% of children also said that their mum or dad were their biggest hero who wears glasses.


Their heroes were selected because their glasses made them look cool (40%) and never made things difficult for them (32%). As a result, almost a third (31%) of children say that these people or characters make them feel more confident about wearing their own specs.


Bianca adds: ‘It’s very encouraging that children feel more confident in their glasses than in the past, but unfortunately name-calling does still exist, albeit to a lesser extent. Our study shows that shockingly, nearly half (48%) of parents were called names as a child because they wore glasses, compared to just over a quarter of children (27%) now. This could account for why 44% of parents say that they worry about their child wearing glasses.’


Specs-wearing dads worry slightly more than mums (46% v 43%), possibly because 52% of them were called names as a child compared to 45% of mums. It is a gender split which is still reflected among children today, with 33% of boys saying that they have been called names because of their glasses compared to 21% of girls.


But things have greatly improved since Specsavers’ initial survey in 2009 when almost 50% of spec-swearing children were called names in the playground and one in five skipped school because they were bullied about their glasses. Almost a quarter of children said then that having to wear glasses to school made them feel sad while 60% didn’t think glasses were cool.


Bianca comments: ‘While it is upsetting that the usual nicknames, such as ‘‘four eyes’’ and ‘‘geek’’ still exists for those who are picked on, it is promising that it is happening less and attitudes are changing, with one in five specs-wearing children being likened to their heroes, such as Harry Potter.’


Children’s anti-bullying charity, Kidscape, which has been a long-standing Specsavers charity partner, also finds the new research promising.


Lauren Seager-Smith, CEO at Kidscape, says: ‘Specsavers has been a huge supporter of Kidscape and bullying prevention for many years.  This includes raising significant funds to help Kidscape deliver practical support to children and families impacted by bullying. We are delighted that the experiences of children in school are changing and that this generation can wear their specs with pride.  Through working together, united against bullying, we can change the lives of young people for the better.’


On October 23, Specsavers is launched a new offer where children receive free glasses from the £64 range, with the choice of a second pair at half price, giving both children and parents something to smile about.


For more information or to request an appointment you please contact Specsavers Brunswick Centre. Visit to find out more about Kidscape.


[1] Specsavers 2009 survey of more than 1,000 children and their parents

[2] Specsavers 2020 survey (07.09.2020 – 17.09.2020) of 1,000 parents with children aged 5-16, who have worn glasses since they were children, 500 children who wear glasses and 500 children who don’t wear glasses