Indians top in never doing an eye test: Study

New Delhi: For the majority of people in the world losing eye sight is a setback to their quality of life, yet less than one third only take the basic steps needed to preserve their vision, and Indians top among other nationals in never doing an eye test, a new survey has found.

According to the "Barometer of Global Eye Health" survey released today by Bausch+Lomb, less than one third of those polled take the basic steps necessary to preserve eye sight.

If forced to choose, about 79 per cent of those polled said they would rather wish to lose their sense of taste instead of their eyesight, 78 per cent said they were ready to lose hearing, and 67 per cent offered to lose 10 years of their life, but not their vision.

Three-fourths of people said they would rather have their pay cut in half than have a decline in the quality of their vision.

In India, which houses 7.8 million blind people or about 20 per cent of the 39 million blind population worldwide, most of the respondents (74 per cent) said they would take a half pay cut, lose 10 years of their life (74 per cent), or lose their sense of taste rather than lose their eyesight.

However, only 43 per cent have had a comprehensive eye exam in the past 12 months and 64 per cent have had their eyes checked in the last 1-2 years, the survey found.

"People care deeply about their eyesight, but they`re simply not taking basic steps to preserve their vision. We need to bridge that gap," said Cal Roberts, Bausch + Lomb`s chief medical officer.

"We hope this research will be an eye opener and it will encourage people to take better care of their eyes to help improve their vision and overall quality of life", Roberts said.

The survey, which polled more than 11,000 people in 11 nations (Brazil, China, Germany, France, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US), also revealed multiple myths that prevail regarding vision and eye health.

More than 44 per cent of those polled said they thought "I don`t need an eye test unless there is a problem", while 42 per cent admitted they believe "If I can see, then my eyes must be healthy."

In India, about 70 per cent said they didn`t get their eyes checked more often as they feel that they do not have any symptoms.

While 69 per cent reasoned that they can just see fine, and 40 per cent said a check-up is not a top-of-mind concern at the moment.

Compared to other countries, Indians consider themselves to be more knowledgeable about eye health than they actually are. Many are unaware of common contributors to vision loss with obesity, dry air and smoking contributing to poor eye health, the survey found.


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