Dry eye: 77% Australians experience symptoms but many unaware

Wednesday, 25 May, 2022

Dry eye: 77% Australians experience symptoms but many unaware

In Australia, 77% have experienced dry eye symptoms1, yet many do not have a clear understanding of the signs, symptoms or causes, according to a study by eye care company Alcon.

The consumer study suggests that despite the prevalence of dry eye discomfort, only 11% of people would see an optometrist and 3% would speak to a pharmacist for advice in response to their eyes bothering them.2

The research, released in conjunction with the launch of Alcon’s Systane preservative-free lubricant eye drops, suggests more consumer education is needed to help people understand their local pharmacy can help Australians recognise the symptoms and causes, and provide advice and management solutions.

The top symptoms for eye-discomfort include ‘tired’ (62%), ‘blurry’ (39%) and ‘dry’ (35%), yet when asked about why they experience discomfort, only 25% stated dry eye as a cause.2

Jason Holland, Clinical Optometrist of The Eye Health Centre, who specialises in dry eye management, said, “Lifestyle factors are contributing to eye discomfort with long screen exposure. Pharmacists across Australia do have an opportunity to start conversations about eye health with patients and the treatment options available.”

In a typical day, nearly one-third (32%) of Australians stare at a screen for more than seven hours.2 Screen time use is even higher for Australians between the ages of 18–34, with the time spent being 8 hours a day.2

While 9 in 10 (89%) feel that sight is the most crucial sense in everyday life2, most aren’t checking in with their optometrist or local pharmacist. Instead, they resort to taking a break from their screens, sleeping or rubbing their eyes to find relief.2 For those who are suffering from dry eye symptoms, one in five (21%) aren’t seeking help to resolve their condition.2

Rich Oliver, Country Franchise Head, Vision Care, Alcon Australia and New Zealand said that with the study, the company is aiming to raise awareness of the symptoms and causes of dry eye to help Australians feel more confident when speaking with their physician.

1. Optometry Australia, 2020 Vision Index Report
2. Data referenced here has been commissioned by PureProfile on behalf of Alcon; Base: Total (n=1000).

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Jürgen Fälchle

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