Six million people in the UK can now afford permanent vision correction thanks to lockdown savings

A year of working from home has enabled six million commuters to save £145 per month on average, enough to pay for life-changing surgery and be free of glasses and contact lenses. That’s according to new research by the OCL Vision eye clinics.

The research highlighted that there are around 38 million people in the UK who need glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision. Further analysis reveals contact lens wearers spend £2 billion per year on lenses, cleaning solution and an annual eye exam. Glasses wearers spend even more; £7 billion a year on frames, lenses, cleaning products and eye tests

At the end of March, a year on from the imposition of the first nationwide lockdown, a third of all workers were still working exclusively from home. Former commuters who’ve worked solely from home have saved an average of £144.90 each month on travel costs, takeaway lunches and other staples of pre-pandemic life like a gym class on the way to work.

But while the switch to home working has lightened the financial load, it’s also weighing on many people’s minds. Through a nationally representative poll of 2000 workers, the research found that two fifths feel their eyes are suffering from the increased screen time, with eye strain emerging as a common problem. In addition, over a third of people say their eyesight has deteriorated since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic

The ongoing cost and hassle of wearing contacts or glasses prompted almost two thirds of people with vision problems to say that they would like to be rid of them for good.

For the millions who feel this way and have built up a nest egg during lockdown, laser eye surgery – which permanently corrects vision – is now a realistic alternative to the open-ended cost of wearing contacts or glasses.

Laser surgery typically costs around £2000 per eye, but with a range of finance options available, OCL Vision has launched an interactive tool to help people work out if the sums add up for them. By inputting what they spend on glasses or contacts, users can see at a glance if it’s worth making the leap to laser – and correcting their eyesight for good.

Juliet Hicks, Chief Operating Officer at OCL Vision, comments: “A year of lockdown living has been tough on everyone, but there have been some silver linings. Many former commuters who switched to working from home have built up a nest egg with the savings they’ve made on travel costs and even the daily cappuccino.

“As lockdown restrictions ease across the UK, some of us will want to treat ourselves. Laser eye surgery – which can free you from the cost and hassle of contact lenses or glasses for good – is now within reach for millions of people who may previously have been put off by the cost. Our easy-to-use calculator can tell you in minutes whether the sums work for you.”

Dr Allon Barsam, Consultant Laser Surgeon at OCL Vision, comments: “Laser surgery can and does change people’s lives for the better, both in their daily life and by saving them money over time. Our research reveals that nearly two thirds of glasses and contact lens wearers want to be rid of them, so it’s exciting to think that so many now have the option to turn a pretty grim year into a positive legacy – permanently better eyesight.”