Poll reveals few Britons aware that their eyes at daily risk

  • YouGov poll conducted with Essilor reveals most Britons unaware of damage to their eyes by surrounding objects, activities and devices
  • Widespread lack of awareness means fewer people seeking methods of prevention and avoidance
  • Even for those aware of risks, most not informed of existing preventative measures

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 blue light, UV rays (reflected from common surfaces), diet, obesity and smoking.

Of the 2,096 people polled, the percentage of respondents aware of the link between known factors affecting eye health were:

  • Poor diet (59%)
  • Obesity (35%)
  • Smoking tobacco (36%)
  • UV light, not just direct from the sun but reflected off shiny surfaces (54%)
  • Blue light from low energy lightbulbs and electronic screens (29%)

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

72% of respondents own or wear prescription glasses but only 28% knew that there were lenses available (for both prescription and non-prescription glasses) to protect against some of these factors. Namely ‘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).

76% admitted they haven’t heard of E-SPF ratings – the grade given to lenses to show the level of protection they offer against UV.

Just 13% have lenses with protection from direct and reflected UV light, and only 2% have protection from blue light (from screens, devices, and low energy bulbs).

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 your eye health. Within social grades, ‘ABC1’ (upper/middle class) are more aware of the effects of smoking and obesity on eyesight than those belonging to ‘C2DE’ (lower middle/ working class)

  • 39% of those in ABC1 compared to 33% in C2DE are aware of the impact of smoking tobacco.
  • 38% of those in ABC1 compared to 31% in C2DE are aware of the impact of obesity.

Awareness of the impacts of smoking and obesity on eye health is significantly higher in Scotland (47% & 49% respectively) than anywhere else in the UK (35% & 33% in England and 40% & 38% in Wales).

Essilor’s professional relations manager, Andy Hepworth, has commented: “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 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 the Essilor website.

For more information on the protection offered from blue light and UV through specialist lens coatings, for both prescription and non-prescription glasses, click here for Essilor UV & Blue Light Protection.