Optometrists are on a mission to make 2020 the year of clear vision after new research has found that over 8.8 million Australians1 over the age of 40 (79%) admit that they have noticed their vision worsen over the past ten years, with one in three (32%) the equivalent of 3.5 million people1, saying their vision is much worse.

The new research1, commissioned by Specsavers revealed that one in two (48%) Australians 40 years and older have experienced tired eyes, struggled to see something on their mobile phone, tablet, or computer screen (47%), or have struggled to read (46%). Despite this, as many as one in six (16%) haven’t had their eyes tested in over three years.

Specsavers Optometrist Patrick Mac said the research highlights that many Australians are ignoring the signs of deteriorating eye sight and putting off seeing an optometrist.

“The research has revealed four in ten have had a headache (39%) or struggled to read a menu when out for dinner (37%), one in three have felt that their vision was going blurry (35%) and just short of 1 million Australians over the age of 40 (8%) say they have bought the wrong item because they either couldn’t read or misread the label. Majority of these instances could be prevented with an eye test and prescription glasses or contact lenses.”

“I’m not surprised by these statistics as a lot of people don’t want to admit that their vision is just not what it used to be. I’ve had many patients that have been in this situation, but once they start wearing glasses or contact lenses and see the difference it makes in their day to day lives, they wished they’d come in sooner.” Patrick added.

Patrick said presbyopia, or difficulty focusing up close, is a natural part of the ageing process.

“From around the age of 40, the natural lens within the eye which allows us to see clearly up close and far away naturally starts to lose its elasticity, affecting our ability to focus at near. Many of my patients who never needed glasses when they were younger find that they need reading glasses as they get older.”

Of those that have been prescribed glasses or contact lenses by an optometrist, half have admitted that they don’t wear them as often as they should.1 Patrick said that it takes people time to accept that the changes that they are experiencing are normal.

“Presbyopia is something that affects almost everyone. It may be that all you need is a pair of prescription reading glasses, multifocal or contact lenses to make reading easier. Your optometrist will be able to make a recommendation on the best option for you and your lifestyle.”

“At the end of the day, it’s 2020, the year of clear vision and we’re calling on all Australians over the age of 40 to commit to taking care of their eyes this year and book an appointment with an optometrist. Why live life in a blur?”

Key statistics

Australians over the age of 40 have:

  • Felt like their eyes are tired – 48%
  • Struggled to see something on their mobile phone, tablet or computer screen – 47%
  • Struggled to read – 46%
  • Had a headache – 39%
  • Struggled to read a menu when out for dinner – 37%
  • Felt like their vision is going blurry – 35%
  • Felt like they should probably have their eyes tested – 28%
  • Struggled to see the TV screen – 20%
  • Struggled to read a road sign while driving – 17%
  • Borrowed someone else’s glasses to read something – 15%
  • Bought the wrong item because you couldn’t read or misread the label – 8%

Data from Specsavers Seeing Clearly Report, YouGov, January 2020

The sample comprised a nationally representative sample 1,000 Australians aged 40 years and older

1Australian Bureau of Statistics, AUST, Census 2016