A third of people reported problems with their eyesight during lockdown

A THIRD of people in the UK have noticed a deterioration in their eyesight during lockdown, a survey by Specsavers* has revealed.

The results come after Specsavers stores in England reopen for routine testing on 17 June having operated an urgent and essential service throughout the COVID-19 restrictions. It means stores can now offer the full breadth of optical and audiology services including routine eye and hearing tests, contact lens consultations and appointments for Corporate Eyecare customers.

Specsavers director of strategic alliances Jim Lythgow says: ‘During lockdown many of us have been spending more time looking at screens, reading, or watching TV, which is likely to make people more aware of pre-existing sight conditions or the fact that their prescription may have changed. More screen time can also lead to eye strain and visual fatigue, which isn’t usually serious but could explain why so many people are reporting issues.

‘We were surprised to see so many people reporting issues with their vision during lockdown but it shows how important it is that businesses provide eye care for employees using display screen equipment (DSE) for their work. Many people have been working at home during lockdown and the same DSE rules apply whether people are at home or in the office. Employees are spending more time using screens at the moment as video conferencing replaces face-to-face meetings.

‘It is important that eye care policies keep up with the amount of screen use and we would recommend employers consider a blanket policy to provide basic cover for all employees.’

To help manage social distancing, stores are encouraging customers to book an appointment in advance by phone or online via specsavers.co.uk.

New hygiene and personal protection measures include restrictions on the number of customers allowed in store at any one time, strict social distancing rules and, where possible, card instead of cash payments.

In line with NHS guidance, Specsavers colleagues will use personal protective equipment (PPE) and all testing equipment and frames will be thoroughly sanitised after each use.

The dates for the reintroduction of routine eye and hearing tests in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are yet to be confirmed. Specsavers will adhere to each country’s industry and government guidance once this is established.

*Specsavers customer panel survey of 1,618 respondents,1 June 2020. 32% of people have noticed a deterioration in their eyesight during lockdown.