Since two million people skipped a regular eye examination during lockout, adults could be suffering from undiagnosed health problems including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and even cardiac disease. Specsavers conducts about 8.6 million eye exams each year and refers over 600,000 patients to the hospital or their primary care physician for further testing. However, millions of people failed tests during the pandemic's peak (March to September 2020), and almost 130,000 fewer people were referred, suggesting that many people might be unaware they have a health problem. Referrals for glaucoma, also known as the "silent thief of sight" because it sometimes goes unnoticed, fell by nearly half during the same time span. According to a new study of 2,000 adults, one out of every ten people is concerned that they may have a serious underlying vision problem, and one out of every twenty is concerned that they may have a serious hearing problem. Although half of adults believe their vision, hearing, or both have deteriorated since the outbreak, two-thirds have yet to schedule a test.
Some people have also failed a hearing test in the last year, according to a survey conducted as part of the Specsavers Hindsight Study. Regular tests are capable of picking up so much more than whether or not someone can see normally, explained Giles Edmonds, clinical services director at Specsavers. Since people have been canceling their appointments for different reasons such as self-isolation or fear of leaving their house, we have made much less referrals and found much less irregularities in the last 12 months than would be anticipated in this time period. Since people have been canceling their appointments for different reasons such as self-isolation or fear of leaving their house, we have made much less referrals and found much less irregularities in the last 12 months than would be anticipated in this time period. Many people have postponed appointments due to the pandemic, which is understandable, but eye exams reveal a slew of potentially dangerous illnesses.