Almost 10 million Brits could lose their eyesight - by shunning regular eye tests.
A new study shows one in six adults don’t bother to attend appointments to have their vision checked, and as such risk making their eye health worse than it needs to be.
Incredibly, half of all patients who are seen first time by an optometrist need some sort of vision correction.
But, according to the report, 24 per cent of people don’t go to eye tests because they don’t like the idea of wearing glasses.
While a quarter think wearing glasses will actually make their eyesight worse.
The Vision of Britain report was commissioned by Optegra Eye Health Care and studied 2,000 people.
Dr Clare O’Donnell, head of Optegra Eye Sciences and registered optometrist, said: “Without regular eye examinations, problems are being left undiagnosed and untreated which can lead to serious vision damage.
“It is vital for everyone to have regular eye checks, even if they suspect nothing is wrong with their eyesight. By giving up just 20-30 minutes of your time once every two years, you can potentially save your vision.”
The study shows that, despite shying away from eye tests, 82 per cent of people would love to have perfect 20:20 vision and more than half value their eyesight above any other sense.
But many don’t bother to make the necessary appointments and, as such, conditions such as cataracts – treatable if diagnosed – are being detected late.
Other conditions which can potentially cause blindness if left untreated are age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Just 38 per cent of British adults have their eyes tested every two years, and only 46 per cent of those who already wear glasses continue to get regular checks.
Only a third of people have annual eye tests.
Robert Morris, consultant eye surgeon and medical director at Optegra Eye Health Care, said: “There are serious eye conditions such as a retinal tear that a patient could easily have no idea they are living with – but which do need to have immediate, emergency surgery.
“If left too late many conditions can only be treated to keep the condition under control, rather than attempt to cure it.”
Dr O’Donnell said: “Every day 100 people in the UK start to lose their sight and two million people live with significant sight loss.
“Vision is such a precious sense, a simple, regular eye test can prevent eye diseases and future worry, missing out simply isn’t worth the risk.”
Top five ways to protect eye health:
Regular eye tests
Wear sunglasses for UV protection
Do not smoke
Safe use of contact lenses
Protect eyes with safety glasses