Globally, We Are Losing Sight of Our Eye Health, a New Public Opinion Poll Reveals
People Would Rather Sacrifice Limbs and Decades of Living than Lose Their Vision Yet Only a Third of Those Polled Take Basic Steps to Preserve Their Eye Sight
FOR RELEASE WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2012
ROCHESTER, NY — An eye-opening stat: almost 70 percent of people from around the world would rather give up 10 years of their life, or even sacrifice one of their limbs, than lose their eyesight. Yet less than one third of those polled take the basic steps necessary to preserve eye sight, according to the “Barometer of Global Eye Health,” a new global survey released today by Bausch + Lomb.
Developed in concert with eye care experts around the world and validated by 147 eye health professionals from 26 different countries, Bausch + Lomb’s study, conducted with its research partner KRC Research, surveyed 11,000 consumers across Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, U.K., and the U.S.
This first-of-its-kind public opinion poll sheds new light on the state of consumer awareness, attitudes and behaviors related to eye health. While 80 percent of visual impairment is preventable if detected and treated early enough , according to the findings not enough people are getting regular eye exams and their reasons for doing so vary wildly.
“For some, the eyes might be the windows to the soul. But for healthcare professionals, the eyes are the windows to one’s overall health,” said Cal Roberts, M.D., Bausch + Lomb’s chief medical officer. “Bausch + Lomb and its partners in the medical community know first-hand that getting regular examinations not only helps preserve one’s vision but also can provide early detection of other serious diseases.”
Unfortunately one of the reasons not enough people are getting regular eye exams seems to be lack of awareness about the connection between eye health and overall health. That’s because the eyes are the one organ where the health of a person’s veins and arteries can be easily seen, allowing eye care professionals to detect signs of more than 150 diseases, such as diabetes, high-cholesterol and hypertension, years before a patient displays other symptoms.
Through this benchmark survey, Bausch + Lomb hopes to inform and educate millions of consumers around the world about the importance of seeing an eye doctor on a regular basis to avoid serious eye diseases including cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, and to increase the chances of early detection of other chronic conditions.
Key results from the “Barometer of Global Eye Health” showed:
- Less than one third of those polled take the basic steps necessary to preserve eye sight.
- If forced to choose, people would rather lose their sense of taste (79%), hearing (78%), one of their limbs (68%) or 10 years off their life (67%) instead of their eyesight.
- Three-fourths of people would rather have their pay cut in half than have a permanent 50% decline in the quality of their vision.
- 68% of those surveyed say they are knowledgeable about eye-health, but this assertion is contradicted by the fact that only 21% had regular eye exams over the past five years.
- Women were more likely than men to take steps to protect their vision, such as wearing sunglasses (81% vs. 77%), eating a healthy diet (82% vs. 75%) and refraining from smoking (79% vs. 73%).
- Married people were more likely than singles to have had a comprehensive eye exam in the past year (46% married vs. 38% single).
- For those who did not have regular eye exams, 65% said they had not visited an eye doctor because they did not have any symptoms and 60% because they had clear vision, dangerous reasoning since many eye diseases occur without any noticeable signs to the patient.
- 97% of doctors surveyed globally believe consumers do not have sufficient eye health knowledge.
- 94% of eye health professionals said women took better care of their eyes than men.
“People care deeply about their eyesight, but they’re simply not taking basic steps to preserve their vision. We need to bridge that gap,” Dr. Roberts said. “We hope this research will be an eye opener and it will encourage people around the world to take better care of their eyes to help improve their vision and overall quality of life.”
The survey also revealed multiple myths that prevail regarding vision and eye health.
- 44% of those polled admitted they thought “I don’t need an eye test unless there is a problem,” while 42% said they believe “If I can see, then my eyes must be healthy.”
- Almost four in 10 (exactly 39%) honestly believed “The only reason to visit an eye doctor is for vision corrections.”
- When it came to their eyes, 30% of those surveyed said “If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not serious.”
“It’s critical that we expose and correct these misconceptions,” Dr. Roberts added. “While the majority of visual impairments are preventable when caught and treated early, clearly people around the globe are not seeing the importance of basic vision care and annual eye exams.”
For detailed results of ‘The Barometer of Global Eye Health,’ to read stories about people’s eye health, find your local eye health practitioner, participate in a poll or view an inspirational video, please visit .
About Bausch + Lomb’s Barometer of Global Eye Health
Bausch + Lomb surveyed more than 11,000 people in 11 countries (Brazil, China, Germany, France, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.) to gauge current eye health habits and perceptions. Bausch + Lomb initially collaborated with more than 140 unpaid eye health professionals from 26 countries to construct the survey to ensure the questions were relevant and would yield important consumer insights. The findings will be used to inform and augment existing educational programming in an effort to further inform patients about the importance of regular comprehensive eye health – not only for their eyes, but also for their health in general. Bausch + Lomb’s Barometer of Global Eye Health reflects the company’s commitment to raise eye health awareness, an important aspect of helping people see better, to live better.
About Bausch + Lomb
Bausch + Lomb is one of the best-known and most respected healthcare companies in the world. Its core businesses include contact lenses and lens care products, ophthalmic surgical devices and instruments, and ophthalmic pharmaceuticals. Founded in 1853, the company is headquartered in Rochester, NY, and employs more than 11,000 people worldwide. Its products are available in more than 100 countries. More information is available at www.bausch.com.
1 World Health Organization. Global estimates of visual impairment. 2010.