Researched commissioned by Optegra has found that 36% of British spectacles wearers have avoided a sight test because of the pandemic.

The eye hospital group’s survey revealed that 63% would only visit an optical practice during Covid-19 if they had a distinct problem with their eyes.

A total of 37% said they would not seek support even though they knew they needed to update their prescription.

It also revealed that glasses wearers have experienced itchy or dry eyes (20%), headaches (19%), poorer vision (14%), eye strain (14%) and blurry vision (14%).

Amir Hamid, medical director and ophthalmic surgeon at Optegra, said: ‘It is very concerning that people are ignoring changes to their vision. At worst, these can be signs of a serious eye condition which needs urgent treatment; or at best, an indication that their glasses prescription needs to be updated. These symptoms simply should not be ignored and we very much encourage everyone who notices changes in their vision to ‘test and treat’ without delay.’

Respondents also reported that facemasks had created issues with spectacles steaming up, with 24% who said it happens every time.

The survey found that the combination of facemasks and spectacles makes wearers feel claustrophobic (34%) or hidden completely (31%).

Respondents felt that they could not communicate clearly (33%) and 35% were concerned about hygiene when taking their spectacles on and off because of having to touch their face.

In addition, 12% of those who responded to Optegra’s survey said it had led to them to consider corrective surgery while 51% wear their glasses less often than they should.

Glasses wearers also said they did not know how to clean their frames to stop them from steaming up (66%).