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Saturday 8th August 2020

Dr Hilary Jones calls out opticians over claims Brits' eyesight has deteriorated during lockdown

Specsavers say one in three Brits have reported a deterioration in their vision

Dr Hilary Jones called out claims made by opticians on Good Morning Britain today (July 10).

A new survey conducted by the College of Optometrists claims that 20 per cent of Brits have worse eyesight since lockdown, reports the Daily Star.

Dr Hilary Jones questioned claims about deteriorating eye sight during lockdown (Credit: ITV)

Dr Hilary Jones casts doubt over survey

Dubbed "coronavision", people are reportedly experiencing issues as a result of staring at screens for too long.

When asked for his thoughts on the findings, Dr Hilary didn't seem convinced.

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He told GMB hosts Ben Shephard and Ranvir Singh: "Well, we've been staring at screens for an awful long time – way before the pandemic.

"Probably more so now – we're probably watching more TV and not going out so much.

"When we go outside and look at the horizon, the ciliary muscles that control the lenses of our eyes are more relaxed.

The GMB star suggested opticians may just want more business (Credit: ITV)

"It's when we focus on something near that we use those ciliary muscles and they can get tired.

"So it's possible that there is just a bit of eye strain and fatigue going on.

"But it could also be that opticians just want a bit more business!"

Dr Hilary added that he had serious questions about the the scope of the survey conducted.

He commented: "I would doubt whether eye sight could deteriorate that much that quickly in a few weeks!"

Dr Hilary doubts Brits' eyesight would have deteriorated too much during lockdown (Credit: ITV)

Opticians report rise in deteriorating eye sight

According to Specsavers, a third of people have reported eyesight problems during lockdown.

The company's clinical services director Giles Edmonds said he was surprised that so many people have been reporting issues.

Explaining what may have caused the spike, he said: "During lockdown, many of us have been spending more time looking at screens, reading, or watching TV.

"[This] is likely to make people more aware of pre-existing sight conditions or the fact that their prescription may have changed.

"More screen time can also lead to eye strain and visual fatigue, which isn’t usually serious but could explain why so many people are reporting issues."

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He also urged businesses to prioritise employee's health by providing staff who use display screen equipment (DSE) with eye care.

"Many people have been working at home during lockdown and the same DSE rules apply whether people are at home or in the office.," he added.

Ben Shephard seemed surprised by the report (Credit: ITV)

"Employees are spending more time using screens at the moment as video conferencing replaces face-to-face meetings.

"It is important that eye care policies keep up with the amount of screen use and we would recommend employers consider a blanket policy to provide basic cover for all employees."

Opticians are now open across the UK for routine eye tests.

Customers can books appointment online and will be contacted by their local store by phone to discuss their concerns afterwards.

Good Morning Britain is on ITV, weekdays at 6am.

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