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Time-poor, cash-strapped NHS staff blind to importance of eye health

Press Release   •   Jun 11, 2018 10:31 BST

Ahead of the annual NHS conference in Manchester (13 June 2018), a poll of NHS workers has revealed that hard-working employees are too time pushed and cash-strapped to take care of their own wellbeing.

The research[1], conducted for Vision Express among over 2,000 active NHS staff, found that:

  • 1 in 3 don’t have a regular eye test, and 2% haven’t had an eye test in more than 10 years
  • 40% of NHS staff who are parents are not giving their children regular eye tests either – despite tests for under 16s being free.
  • Of those who need prescription lenses to drive, around 1 in 4 confessed to getting behind the wheel without their glasses/contacts
  • 63% of respondents cited cost as the primary factor dissuading them from having regular eye tests, with half saying it’s difficult to find the time to go to an optician

Despite neglecting their eye health, the survey revealed that NHS workers rank a trip to the optician as more important than dental or hearing checks.

Jay Ghadiali, Director of Professional Services at Vision Express, said: “What this research tells us is that even those who work in the healthcare industry and are educated about the importance of check ups, aren’t actually getting them. It’s a huge issue because half of all sight loss is preventable – and an eye test can help detect a range of underlying conditions, such as risk of stroke, high cholesterol and even cancers.”

The poll found that 2 out of 3 of NHS employees were aware that an eye test is recommended every two years. However, 45% weren’t aware that smoking doubles your chances of losing your sight through macular degeneration.

Jay added: “There’s clearly a job still to be done on raising awareness about the importance of a regular eye test. It’s also crucial we remove barriers to getting this essential health check. While we can’t offer NHS employees more time in their day, we hope that now Vision Express is within 210 Tesco Extra supermarkets nationwide, its more convenient than ever to pop in and get tested. Plus our mobile Vision Van continues to tour the UK offering free eye tests at major events and locations where we know that eye test uptake is particularly poor.”

[1] Sent to c.100,000 NHS staff via Corporate client We Are Discounts – primary provider of member discount services to NHS staff. Data collected from 2,149 in February2018

About Vision Express

Vision Express is one of the largest optical retailers in the UK and part of GrandVision, the global leader in optical retail operating in more than 40 countries, spanning over 6,500 stores and online.

With almost 600 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Built on a passion for the profession, it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best individual optical care, the right product and great value. Customers can select from a vast range of genuine designer brands and the latest technology lenses, through to complete glasses from £39.

With around 6,000 employees, Vision Express makes a significant difference to the communities it operates within, and the organisations it chooses to support. As part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, Vision Express is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charity Project and include:

  • Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
  • International Glaucoma Association
  • Macular Society
  • Stroke Association
  • Temple Street University Hospital
  • Brake

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