Optometry Australia (OA) has released the 2020 Vision Index Report, designed to cover the importance that Australians place on their eyes. The data provides an interesting insight into public perceptions of eye health, presenting useful information for eye care professionals.
In November 2019 OA commissioned research to survey Australians about their approach to eye health and their attitudes and habits with regard to their eyes. The report covers many topics such as glasses, contact lenses, eye conditions, disease, nutrition, workplace, driving, sport and digital behaviour.
The launch of the 2020 Vision Index will help us to shine a light on the importance of regular eye examinations and help encourage more Aussies to focus on their vision in 2020
AUSTRALIAN EYE HEALTH PERCEPTIONS
Lyn Brodie, CEO of Optometry Australia, says that the 2020 Vision Index Report highlighted that although the majority of Australians understand the benefits of an annual regular eye examination (57%), one third of Australian’s don’t undertake regular checks (35%), and an alarming one in eight have never seen an optometrist in their life (12%).
When it comes to awareness of eye conditions and diseases, the report shows that 33% of Australians are unaware of myopia and 69% have never heard of presbyopia. While 77% of Australians have experienced dry eye, only 26% have then consulted an optometrist.
Despite this, three quarters (76%) of all Australians consider their eyesight to be their most important sense, with three in five Australians stating they’re worried about the quality of their eyesight.
Statistics from the report show that 68% of Australian parents have taken their children to have their eyes examined by an optometrist, and of those children, 35% required prescription glasses. However, 45% of those who had not taken their children to have their eyes examined said their child hadn’t seen an optometrist because they didn’t believe there was anything wrong with their vision.
Parents who do take their children to see an optometrist do so as part of a routine heath check or because they failed a vision screening at school.
Such evidence demonstrates the continued need to promote the importance of eye health to parents and children in order to debunk the common misperception that eye-related issues are only relevant to the older population.
The report also shows that younger (18–34) Australian parents are more concerned (44%) about the effects of screen time on their children’s eyesight than older (55+) Australians (28%).
The report reveals people’s preferences and compliance when it comes to their eyewear, with a noticeable deficiency in proper contact lens use. Of the Australians who wear contact lenses, 10% admit to rarely washing their hands before use and 19% of prescription contact lens wearers leave them in for longer than advised by their optometrist. UV protection also presented as another area lacking in knowledge, with 76% of Australians believing UV protective sunglasses are not necessary during winter. While 51% of Australians place a lot of importance on the UV protection level of their sunglasses, 13% place none at all. Interestingly, 31% of adults still believe that eating carrots significantly improves your eyesight – demonstrating the long lasting power of urban legend.
PROVIDING A SNAPSHOT
While the report takes a birds-eye look at the eye health of Australians, it also aims to highlight the intrinsic link between eye health and preventable chronic diseases, conditions and their risk factors, underscoring the significant extent to which eye health affects general health and wellbeing.
“The launch of the 2020 Vision Index will help us to shine a light on the importance of regular eye examinations and help encourage more Aussies to focus on their vision in 2020”, Lyn Brodie concluded.
Download the full report here: www. optometry.org.au/wp-content/uploads/ GVFL/Year_2020/2020-Vision-Index- Report-FINAL.pdf