Knock-on effects of the pandemic on the nation’s eyesight

Dr Andy Hepworth, Professional Relations Manager at Essilor makes some recommendations that will protect your eye health

Dr Andy Hepworth

Despite concern about losing vision as they get older, new research from Essilor shows that the UK’s eyesight has deteriorated over the past year. 1 in 3 people over the age of 40 have admitted to needing to increase the font size on their devices – with 40% of respondents confessing to removing glasses for vanity when going out or taking part in a zoom call.[1]

The research was launched to look into the true effects of the pandemic and more screen-based working. It is a clear indication that someone’s eyesight has deteriorated if they are having to increase the font size on devices – yet people are dismissing this and are putting off going for an eye test. Nearly a quarter of people over the age of 40 have failed to go for an eye check up in the last 3 years, despite over half (55%) being worried about losing their vision as they get older.

The effects of neglected eye health is often not known for many years when a preventable condition is no longer treatable. To reduce the strain on our eyes caused by increased screen time, Dr Andy Hepworth, Professional Relations Manager, Essilor recommends:

  • Setting screen brightness to low.
  • Positioning the screen directly in front of your face, slightly lower than eye level, and if it is a laptop or tablet, maintain a certain distance.
  • Cleaning the screen if necessary
  • Lowering ambient lighting while working at or watching a screen
  • Blinking more often to combat dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes take a pause of 20 seconds and look at something 20 feet away (6 meters).
  • Having regular eye tests. Most people should have their eyes checked at least once every two years. Eye tests don’t just alert us to how a person’s vision had changed, but it can also be an early indicator that there is an underlaying health condition – such as diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer.

It’s really important that people of any age, which of course includes over 40, have regular eye tests. With 70% of people in the UK wearing corrective eye wear 1- more education is needed to ensure they understand the importance of having regular eye check-ups.

To book an eye test at your nearest optician today visit

About Essilor

Essilor’s history starts in 1849, with a spectacle-frame maker known as Société des Lunetiers (SL). By the end of the 19th century, Société des Lunetiers was exporting its products all over the world. Experiencing breakthrough innovations throughout its beginnings, it was Bernard Maitenaz, an engineer who joined SL in 1948, who revolutionised the company.

Creating the world’s first varifocal lens in 1959, Maitenaz had developed what became the most important innovation in eyewear since the invention of bifocals in the 18th century. This lens became known as Varilux. Shortly after, in 1962, SL rebranded to Essel.

In 1972, Essel and Silor, two French optical companies, joined forces and began to sell to the market. Specialising in plastic lenses, and thanks to its unique Varilux product, Essilor sparked a new generation of lenses.

About Dr Andy Hepworth

Dr Andy Hepworth, BSc (hons) FBDO, graduated from APU in 1996 with an honours degree in Optical Management, and following two years in practice management, he joined Essilor Ltd.

Since 2003 he has been working as Essilor’s Professional Relations manager, a role that includes creating and delivering presentations to optical universities and colleges along with CET to optical professionals.

[1] Research by Essilor was conducted by Sapio Research among 1011 40+ year olds in the UK.

2 The College of Optometrists – Britain’s Eye Health in Focus

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