Londoners forced to reassess health priorities
Tuesday 10 January 2023
New research by Specsavers shows that nearly three quarters (74%) of Londoners want to prioritise their health in 2023, but one in ten (10%) say it’s an impossible reality due to the cost-of-living crisis
Eye care is one of the first healthcare priorities to go, with 16% of glasses wearers saying that they will cut back on replacements even if their prescription changes
Specsavers is rallying the nation not to forgo their eye health with advice on FREE NHS eye tests and prescription glasses, and free contact lens trials
5th January 2023 – New research by Specsavers has revealed that 75% of people across the London region are concerned that they will struggle financially, more than usual this January, with over a third (34%) saying they’re unsure if they can afford to prioritise their health and wellbeing amid the cost-of-living crisis.
The poll of 2,000 UK adults showed that looking after health and wellbeing is a key priority for more than three quarters of Brits in 2023, but one in ten (11%) say it’s an impossible reality due to rising inflation and the post-Christmas pinch.
In many cases, eye care is the first to go: one in ten (11%) Londoners who wear contact lenses or glasses have said that they will cut back on eye care because of their worsening financial situation. What’s more, almost 11% of glasses wearers and contact lens wearers say, even though they need glasses or lenses they can't afford them.
One in five (16%) of glasses wearers also admitted that they would stick with their current glasses even if they broke - and only a fifth of Londoners across the region (19%) say that they intend to spend money on eye care, eye tests or eyewear this year at all.
Research from the Association of Optometrists (AOP) last year also highlighted that nearly a third of people in the UK are wearing glasses belonging to friends and family, or glasses with out-of-date prescription lenses, as ways of getting by.
Commenting on the concerning findings, Specsavers’ Clinical Services Director Giles Edmonds said: ‘We know this is a difficult time for many, but wearing the wrong prescription or broken lenses can impact your eyes, with symptoms including eye strain and headaches. More worryingly, it can also contribute to trips and falls – one of the biggest causes of hospital visits for older people.
'Avoiding visiting the opticians or putting off your regular eye test could also be detrimental to your health. Conditions, such as glaucoma or cataracts, can often be symptomless for years, so eye tests are the only way to detect them early to help avoid irreversible vision loss. We understand that a lot of people are financially stretched this January, so we want to ensure people are aware of the support available to them, such as free eye tests and optical vouchers via the NHS'.
The eligibility criteria for free NHS eye tests is extensive and includes people aged 60 or over, those under 18 in full-time education and anyone diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma. If you are over 40 and your mother, father, sibling or child has been diagnosed with glaucoma you are also eligible. You're also entitled if you, your partner - or if under the age of 20, your dependant - is receiving income support. Scottish residents aged 16-60 can have a free NHS-funded eye test every two years and in the Isle of Man eye tests are free to anyone on the NHS.
In a number of cases the NHS will also give an optical voucher towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses, so booking an appointment with your local optometrist to discuss options could be a useful way to access free eye care this January. To find out whether you qualify for a free eye test or a voucher towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses visit specsavers.co.uk/glasses/nhs-eye-test or ask in store.
For those who are ineligible for free NHS eye care, Specsavers recently dropped their entry level prescription glasses from £19 to £15. For those looking to try contact lenses this New Year, Specsavers also offers free trials so that you can try before you buy.
To book an appointment or browse the range of glasses and lenses, visit www.specsavers.co.uk