New Survey on Eye Health Finds Most People Say They Know the Importance of an Annual Eye Exam, but Actually – They Don’t and They’re Not Getting One

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More than 1.3 billion people around the world suffer from visual impairment, yet 80% of these cases are treatable if discovered early.1 To better understand people’s views on the importance of eye health, Johnson & Johnson Vision* today announced findings from a comprehensive, large-scale global eye health survey in advance of World Sight Day on October 8. The survey reveals both a disconnect in patient views towards the importance of eye health and how they prioritize it as part of their overall health, as well as unique barriers to care and varying attitudes towards eye health specific to different regions, generations, and genders.

Most adults surveyed (80%) said they view an eye exam as important for their overall health and recognized that healthy vision improves overall quality of life (68%) and keeps them safe (61%).

However, despite this reported awareness, less than half (46%) of all respondents said they actually get an eye exam each year—the single most important step to protect your eyes.

When asked why they skipped an annual eye exam, people’s reasons varied:

  • The most common answer was that their vision hadn’t changed (32%), which presents an opportunity to educate patients about an annual eye exam can preserve and protect vision, in addition to playing an important role in overall health.
  • COVID-19 has elevated the importance of health but also affected people’s ability and willingness to seek out care, including eye exams. Despite that, the survey uncovered that less than one in five (16%) were reluctant or unable to schedule an eye exam due to the pandemic.
  • Finally, cost was a much larger barrier for certain groups, including younger generations—24% of Gen Z and Millennials globally said they can no longer afford to see an eye doctor, compared to only 13% overall.

“At Johnson & Johnson Vision, we are committed to changing the trajectory of eye health, which starts by addressing the biggest barriers to care—awareness and access,” said Sandra Rasche, Area Vice President, EuropeMiddle East and Africa, Vision Care, Johnson & Johnson Medical GmbH. “This survey has uncovered new insights and opportunities around how we, as an eye health community, can help people to prioritize their eyes by getting an annual eye exam.”

Additional survey insights shined light on how people may not understand what steps are needed to take care of their vision:

  • Less than half of people surveyed believed they could prevent their eyesight from deteriorating (47%) or responded that vision loss is a part of aging and they have no control over it (46%). In fact, the prevention and treatment of life-altering eye conditions starts with a single eye exam.
  • Respondents did not recognize the potential benefits and impact of having healthy vision, including that it prevents vision problems (56%), can impact learning and comprehension (39%), or is critical for healthy development in children (25%).
  • Surprisingly, despite reporting that they knew an eye exam could help diagnose early signs of chronic diseases (69%), most didn’t know the full breadth and weren’t aware it could help detect diabetes (only 25% knew), cardiovascular disease (10%), or cancer (9%).

The survey was conducted online in August 2020 by TRUE Global Intelligence among more than 6,000 adults 18 years of age or older across the United StatesJapanChinaGermanyRussia, and the United Kingdom. This is part of the Prioritize Your Eyes campaign, a worldwide effort to raise awareness about the importance of eye health and encourage everyone to get an annual eye exam, launched in February 2020 by Johnson & Johnson Vision to carry out its commitment to change the trajectory of eye health.

This World Sight Day, make the commitment to #PrioritizeYourEyes, spread the word with your loved ones and make an appointment with your eye care professional for a comprehensive eye exam. 

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