ANDOVER, England, November 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A staggering 75 per cent of Brits are putting off having their sight tested due to concerns over the cost of eyecare, glasses and contact lenses, according to a new survey commissioned by sight charity The Eyecare Trust and healthcare provider Simplyhealth for National Eye Week (9-15 November).[1]

Regular eye examinations - every two years for most people - are essential to maintain good eye health and detect sight-threatening conditions at an early stage. They can also expose underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, increased risk of stroke and even tumours.

But in recession-hit Britain eyecare has become a victim of the household budget as three quarters of people delay having eye tests or buying new glasses. Of these, two-thirds are women - often the carers in the family.

Part of the problem, says Eyecare Trust chairman Iain Anderson, is that people are still not sure what they are entitled to on the NHS. More than 30 million people in the UK (including everybody in Scotland) are entitled to FREE eyecare (either as eye tests and/or vouchers to cover the cost of glasses) paid for by the NHS. Many more are also entitled to free eyecare paid for by their employer[2].

When you remember that eyecare is a professional service the cost is remarkably good value compared, say, to having your car serviced, adds Iain, but that doesn't necessarily make it any easier to afford in these tough economic times. Glasses too can either be branded, high fashion designs and relatively expensive, or simpler, more affordable styles. There is an enormous choice out there.

With official estimates predicting that the number of people registered blind will double by 2030[3] it's vital that more people are encouraged to have regular sight tests. Cash plans - such as those offered by healthcare provider Simplyhealth - mean that when someone visits the optician, whether for an eye test or to purchase glasses, they will receive money back, up to an annual limit.

We firmly believe that cost should not be a barrier to people enjoying good eye health or lifelong good vision, says Raman Sankaran of Simplyhealth. Early diagnosis can result in successful treatment for a range of common eye conditions, including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. A cash plan can help take away the financial bother of visiting the optcian, allowing you peace of mind to attend your regular eye examinations.

For more eye health facts and to take an on-line sight test visit For information about health cash plans go to and for full details of eyecare entitlements on the NHS visit

Notes to Editors

The Eyecare Trust is a registered charity that exists to promote awareness of ocular health and the importance of good eye care.

Simplyhealth - sponsor of National Eye Week 2009 - offers individuals and families a range of health plans that provide cover towards check-ups, treatment and emergencies, helping them budget for the costs of expected and unexpected healthcare. A cash plan, for example means that every time someone visits the optician for an eye test, prescription glasses and sunglasses, they will receive money back, up to an annual limit. Because Simplyhealth is committed to helping people take care of themselves it firmly supports National Eye Week, helping people to enjoy lifelong good vision.

[1] The 'Seeing the Benefit' research study was conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of the Eyecare Trust and Simplyhealth between 04 September 2009 - 14 September 2009. The survey canvassed the attitudes and behaviours of a nationally representative sample of 1,811 adults. [2] Employees who regularly use a VDU at work are entitled to regular sight tests paid for by their employer. Your employer must also pay for a pair of basic spectacles if it is shown that you require correction specifically for VDU use. [3] RNIB For further press information please contact: Adrian Knowles, Eyecare Trust Press Office, +44(0)1225-423394, email: OR Caroline Lakeman, Simplyhealth, +44(0)1264-342570, email:

SOURCE: Simplyhealth SOURCE: The Eyecare Trust

CONTACT: For further press information please contact: Adrian Knowles,Eyecare Trust Press Office, +44(0)1225-423394,; OR