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48% neglect eyesight due to cost

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Nearly half of people are neglecting their eyesight, according to a survey by Westfield Health.


The survey, which polled 510 adults aged 18 and over, highlighted that 48 per cent of respondents do not have regular eye examinations and six per cent have never had their eyes tested.


The poll indicates that cost is the main reason why people choose not to visit the optician, with 50 per cent of respondents unable to afford to replace their glasses as often as they would like.


Gil Vasey, Director of Specsavers at Crystal Peaks, Sheffield, said: “The survey has confirmed my belief that the public perceive eye care to be an extra expense that can be avoided and not the absolute necessity it should be. A sight test can often be at the bottom of people’s lists when it comes to maintaining their every day health. However, when you think about how much visual stress and strain our eyes endure on a daily basis, for example looking at a computer screen, driving and watching television, it is essential to look after one of the most important organs in the body. Without regular testing, eyes can deteriorate without any real telltale signs. This can lead to headaches. Headaches and migraines that occur as a result of an outdated prescription can make life extremely uncomfortable for those concerned and ignoring the problem while saving for a new pair of glasses is far from ideal. A bi-annual eye examination is recommended for most people. It may be necessary to have examinations more frequently depending on your age and medical history. The eye examination can pick up early signs of potentially blinding eye conditions such as glaucoma. Failing eyesight is often taken for granted as people get older. However, by having an eye test and remedying problems in eyesight, older people can improve their quality of life significantly."


Westfield Health Deputy Chief Executive Jill Davies said: "We only have one pair of eyes, so it is essential that we do all we can to maintain their health. It is important to take a proactive role in looking after your everyday healthcare and eye care plays a key role in this. Along with dental, optical has always been a key driver of business for Westfield Health and there is no reason to believe this will change. People are viewing healthcare cover as a very positive and relevant benefit and anything that includes optical cover is very attractive." 


Health cash plans: News update: June 2008


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