Survey: Americans don’t follow through on crucial annual eye exams

(BPT) – If you’ve fallen behind in scheduling and keeping your regular eye exams, you’re not alone. In fact, eye health is not an important enough priority for most people, according to a recent study by Johnson & Johnson Vision.

That’s a problem, since annual eye exams are the single most crucial step you can take to effectively protect your eyes. Alarmingly, the global survey reveals that 80% of people see eye exams as important for their overall health, yet only 46% actually get their recommended eye exam each year. Further, many can’t give a reason for that lack of action.

“It’s worrisome that so many people understand the importance of annual eye exams, but don’t make them happen,” notes Dr. Carol Alexander, head of North America Vision Care professional relations for Johnson & Johnson Vision. “We need to find ways to help people push past the obstacles that keep them from taking good care of their eye health, which is a key to their quality of life.”

You may want to be aware of these other eye care facts revealed by the survey.

People are misinformed about the need for check-ups

Myths prevent some people from moving forward with eye exams. For example, 32% of respondents say they haven’t scheduled an appointment because their vision hasn’t changed in the past year. In total, 47% think they can prevent their own eyesight from deteriorating, while 46% think vision loss is a normal part of aging or a process over which they have no control. Another problem? Twenty-five percent consider their eye health less important than their other health concerns.

The truth is, a single eye exam can help identify a wide span of life-altering conditions, and the information gained can help preserve and protect your vision. Many people don’t realize a comprehensive eye exam can also help detect some 270 different medical conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, or even cancer.

People underestimate the impact of clear eyesight

Our ability to see (or lack thereof) has a profound effect on our lives. However, 61% of survey respondents don’t realize clear vision is key to learning and comprehension, and 75% don’t realize it’s critical for healthy development in children.

People are deterred by the pandemic

While COVID-19 has drawn attention to the importance of overall health and well-being, not everyone feels comfortable going in for routine doctor visits right now. You may be among the 16% of respondents who have been reluctant or unable to attend eye exams due to factors related to COVID-19.

That’s understandable; however, routine medical care is still necessary. About half of survey respondents look to their doctors or personal care providers to inform them of the importance of their eye health, but only 27% report that their providers have spoken to them about the link between their eyes and other illnesses.

Clearly, people across the world under-prioritize the importance of eye health. That’s why Johnson & Johnson Vision launched Prioritize Your Eyes, a worldwide effort to raise awareness about the importance of eye health and encourage everyone to take the single most important step in eye health – get an eye exam. You can find an eye care professional for your next comprehensive eye exam at