Young adults in the UK are typically spending £293 a year on correcting their vision with glasses and contacts, over £100 more than people over the age of 35. The research comes from OCL Vision, which has commissioned the research into the state of eye health in the country.
The findings show that around 38 million people in the UK require glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision, but attitudes towards eye care vary significantly between different age groups.
While those aged 18 to 34 spend more than any other age group, being able to see clearly is not always their top priority when it comes to their choice of vision correction. A quarter of young adults claim that they don’t regard being able to see clearly as an important concern when it comes to choosing glasses or contact lenses. By contrast, almost all over 55s agreed that being able to see clearly is very important to them.
Young people may be spending the most on correcting their vision but they aren’t blind to the high cost, with seven in 10 saying their expenditure on glasses and contacts is making them want to be rid of them for good. This frustration has led nearly half of 18 to 34-year olds to feel that if they could afford it, they would have laser eye surgery to fix their eyesight permanently.
The market research also highlights an unfortunate legacy of the increased time many people have spent indoors, and using a screen, since the start of the pandemic. Two fifths (40%) of people under the age of 55 say their eyesight has worsened as a result of lockdown life.
To help people with vision problems track their spending, OCL Vision has launched an interactive tool which offers insights into the annual costs associated with correcting poor vision, and how they compare to long-term solutions like surgery.
Dr Allon Barsam, Consultant Laser Surgeon at OCL Vision, comments: “Poor eyesight is something we typically associate with ageing, but millions of young people still require vision correction to see clearly – and our research reveals just how much this is costing them.
“With so many young people reporting that their vision has deteriorated recently, the effects of increased screen time and frequent eyestrain may be starting to hit home.
“When working from home, make sure you do so in a well-lit room, as your eyes will find it easier to focus when there is plenty of light. Keep your screen at arm’s length too as excessive focusing on very close objects can lead to eyestrain.
“If you feel your eyesight has suffered lately, it’s important to have an eye test to assess your vision and eye health before deciding what’s the best and most comfortable way to correct your vision.”