Do you know your guacamole from your glaucoma?

Do you know your guacamole from your glaucoma?

Many Britons have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to optical wellbeing, as a third admit to being overdue an eye-test. What’s more, Britons’ lack of willingness to have their vision tested is mirrored by a lack of knowledge on eye conditions, according to new research.

The study of 2,000 British adults by Vision Direct, found that people were unable to name common eye conditions when presented with a list. Fewer than half could identify astigmatism as eye-related and just a third knew that macular degeneration affected sight.

Two of the most common eye conditions, presbyopia (short-sightedness) and hyperopia (far-sightedness), were also a source of confusion to many. Almost 1.8 million believed hyperopia was a region in ancient Egypt while a similar number were under the impression that presbyopia was a blockbuster sci-fi movie.

Well over 2 million also wrongly claimed that epidexipteryx, a bird-like dinosaur, was an eye condition while almost one in 20 believed that taraxacum (the Latin name for a dandelion) was a sight-affecting ailment.

And it’s not just blurred knowledge of eye conditions that Brits struggle with, many were unclear on the basic functions of eyes. According to the research two-fifths had no idea of the purpose of the retina, and well over half couldn’t explain what the pupil does.


NHS guidelines recommend seeing an optician at least once every two years, but the findings show almost one in seven haven’t been checked in over five years.

Brendan O’Brien from Vision Direct said “It doesn’t surprise us that many people are unable to name the most common eye conditions. However, in some cases, this lack of knowledge could be causing them to put off getting their eyes tested regularly.

Getting your eyes checked is the only way to spot and manage these common conditions and getting to them earlier is vital.”

As World Glaucoma Week approaches in March, the researchers found that six in 10 Brits were unaware of what the condition actually is.

Around 480,000 people are living with chronic glaucoma in the UK according to the National Eye Research Centre. The condition means the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, has become damaged. And, while it doesn’t usually cause symptoms, to begin with, it can develop over many years affecting peripheral vision first. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to loss of vision.

The human eye is an organ made of over 2 million parts that work together to process light and help us interpret shapes, colours and dimensions around us. Take a look through the fascinating visual process here – which, like a camera, begins when light is captured at the front of the eye, travels through the middle and ends at the back of the eye.

Poppy Watt

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