There is a group of Britons who may have a very bad reason for not opting to buy contact lenses online - they don't realise they need them. In its latest 'Britain’s Eye Health in Focus', the College of Optometrists found there remains a significant minority of people who do not view regular eye tests as being important. For some people, that could mean not getting glasses or contact lenses when their eyesight is not good enough. The YouGov survey found 70 per cent do view eye tests as important, however, with one bit of good news being that the number calling such tests 'very important' was up from 39 per cent in 2011 to 52 per cent last year.
However, a number of areas emerged where there is a crucial lack of knowledge about eye health issues. For example, 31 per cent did not know that glaucoma can run in families. Half of people did not know how to find out if their optometrist is correctly qualified and only 45 per cent would make such a specialist their first port of call if an eye problem arose. Of those not getting checked up, five per cent of those aged over 40 said they had not been for a test in at least ten years - or could not remember when their last visit to the opticians was. Some may be reluctant to admit they might need to buy contact lenses or glasses and not get tested even if their sight is not good.
However, motorists in particular need to pay attention to this, as a new law has now come into force that means drivers can lose their licences if they fail a random roadside eye test. Failure is defined by an inability to read a number plate from 20 metres away and while such a suspension used to take several days, modern electronic communication such as smartphones can now be used by the police to contact the DVLA and enforce the prohibition within hours. That may seem harsh to some, but it could mean fewer drivers with inadequate eyesight posing a danger to themselves and others on the roads. Those who don't want to get caught out may need to book that eye test appointment they have been putting off.