A survey commissioned by Optegra revealed that concerns about the cost-of-living crisis could affect the nation’s eye health as patients deprioritise sight tests.
The results let Amir Hamid, medical director at Optegra to say that ‘there are huge financial pressures on British people at the moment, but it is concerning that eye health may suffer as a result. Both with patients avoiding essential eye tests and even optometrists concerned about keeping their practices open due to the cost of living.’
100 UK Optometrists were surveyed and 65% said that patients were avoiding eye tests because of the cost and 43% believed patients were putting their eye health at risk as a result.
26% of Optometrists said the main reason patients gave for missing a routine sight test was the high cost of living. 49% said it the concerns about the cost of vision correction. While 51% said that they had seen an increase in eye strain and the need for glasses or contact lenses since the pandemic, patients are still delaying eye tests because of cost and the continuation of Covid.
55% said that they anticipated the nation’s eye health to get worse in six months’ time and 40% believed concerns about cost could lead to patients driving while not meeting legal visual requirements.
30% of Optometrists said that number of patients with vision problems resulting from broader health conditions had increased over the past 12 months.
In some cases, employers are helping patients cover the cost of their treatment and 48% of Optometrists said that they has seen patients who had benefitted from this. 73% of respondents agreed that sign tests should be government funded and free for all to protect the nation’s eye health.
Over half (54%) of Optometrists surveyed expressed concerns about keeping their practice open with 29% having made changes to how they run their practice to adapt to economic changes. A large amount (48%) of Optometrists were concerned about the cost of essential materials.