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Worldwide Gap Between Vision Care Attitudes & Behavior


New Global Survey Reveals Cultural Variances about Taking Care of Your Eyes

Jacksonville, FL – Across cultures and national boundaries, sight is valued as the most important of the five senses. Yet, new research reveals that across the world, nearly half (44%) share the misguided belief that seeing well translates to good eye health. This and other findings confirm a large global gap between vision care attitudes and behavior which may be preventing people from seeking proper treatment and diagnosis for them and their children.

Gaps in vision care attitudes and behavior are a recurrent theme throughout Global Attitudes and Perceptions About Vision Care, a new survey conducted on behalf of The Vision Care Institute™, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson company. More than 6,500 adults from Australia, Brazil, China, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States were surveyed to better understand the incidence, practice and perception of eye exams for adults and children around the world.

Globally, survey respondents demonstrate a strong belief that good vision positively impacts quality of life. Eight-in-ten respondents (79%) believe that improving their vision will impact their enjoyment of life, helping them perform better in hobbies (73%), school/career (71%), and sports (65%). More than seven-in-ten respondents (72%) say that improving their vision will also help them feel better about themselves and give them more confidence.

Parents/caregivers around the world strongly believe that improving their children’s vision would have comparatively more of an impact on their children’s lives than their own.

Despite these reported beliefs, however, only half (54%) of survey participants have ever had a comprehensive eye exam -- an examination conducted in an office by an eye care professional that checks not just for vision correction needs, but also for overall eye health. More than one-in-three parents/caregivers have never taken their child under 18 years of age for any type of vision assessment.

“While the survey reveals a great deal of similarities and common beliefs about vision care around the world, it is also a cause for concern because many adults and children are not seeing an eye care professional for a comprehensive eye exam,” explains Peg Achenbach, O.D., Senior Director, Professional & Medical Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

“A comprehensive eye exam conducted by an eye care professional will not only assess your vision and need for upgraded prescriptions, but it may also help identify and lead to a diagnosis of other health concerns such as hypertension and diabetes,” she adds.

While respondents from Brazil (80%), the United Kingdom (77%), Italy (74%) and the United States (74%) report high rates of comprehensive eye exams, other countries stand in marked contrast. Adults in China (25%), Singapore (28%), Japan (28%) and Russia (36%) say they are much less likely to have ever had a comprehensive eye exam.

While the findings are in part driven by differences in health care systems, economic development and regulatory environments, these fluctuating rates are further magnified by a lack of knowledge about comprehensive eye exams and insufficient attention paid to eye health. Nearly half (46%) say they are not sure what such an exam involves, and more than one-third (39%) mistakenly believe that testing for vision correction is the same as testing for eye health. Among respondents who say they do not intend to have an eye exam in the next 12 months, the most common reasons cited were “haven’t really thought about it” (34%), “no perceived vision issues” (30%), and “vision isn’t bad enough to warrant going for an exam” (26%).

Cost does not appear to be a significant barrier. Globally, only 10% of those who say they do not intend to have an eye exam in the next year cite not being able to afford an exam as a reason not to have one. In the United States, however, this number jumps to 27% -- nearly triple the global average.

Survey participants in Hong Kong (18%), China (17%) and the United States (13%) are more likely than other countries to cite lack of insurance or insufficient coverage for eye exams as a barrier to making an appointment.

Despite the impact of cost and insurance coverage as barriers to getting an eye exam, six-in-ten (62%) survey participants still say they are willing to pay more for a better eye exam.

Other findings from the survey, which evaluated a variety of vision care attitudes and practices, include the following:

* Globally, 66% of adults use some form of vision correction aid, including prescription glasses, non-prescription glasses, contact lenses and surgery. About three-in-ten (28%) parents/caregivers say their children use some form of vision correction.
* Parents/caregivers across countries acknowledge the importance of vision in child development. Eight-in-ten say they would be upset if they found out that their child’s poor performance in school was related to undiagnosed vision problems and more than two-thirds (68%) say they would feel guilty for not taking their child for an eye exam earlier if they found out that their child needed vision correction.
* Nearly 70% of participants believe that wearing contact lenses would impact their enjoyment of life; respondents also show strong beliefs that contact lenses would impact their performance in hobbies (65%), school/career (60%), sports (66%) and self-image and confidence (67%).
* Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) respondents agree that UV rays can damage their eyes, but only 57%wear sunglasses as protection and even fewer (41%) make sure their children wear sunglasses when outdoors.
* Nearly seven-in-ten (68%) of those surveyed say they rely on their eye doctor’s advice when it comes to how to correct or improve their vision. Respondents in France (91%), Russia (81%), Australia (80%) and the United States (78%) display relatively higher agreement, while the United Kingdom (58%), Japan (56%) and Brazil (37%) are significantly lower than the global average.

To view the Executive Summary, including key findings by country, visit

About the Survey
Global Attitudes and Perceptions About Vision Care was conducted on an economically viable population of consumers ages 18-54 in 13 countries -- Australia, Brazil, China, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

A total of 6,500 adults ages 18-54 (a nationally representative cross section of 500 adults per country) were surveyed between April and July, 2008. Online interviews were conducted in all countries but China and Russia, where interviews were conducted via telephone. National representation was based on gender, age, household income and geographic region. To ensure economic viability, survey respondents were screened for minimum household incomes based on specific standards and guidelines for each country. The “Global” numbers in this report are calculated by a straight-line average of the data from the 13 countries.

About The Vision Care Institute™, LLC
The Vision Care Institute™, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson company, is an innovative professional resource for eye care providers. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., the state-of-the-art facility gives participants a rare opportunity to experience the latest in vision diagnostic and treatment technologies through hands-on instruction, including training on contact lens fitting and prescribing.

Working in tandem with leading schools and associations since its launch in March 2004, The Vision Care Institute™, LLC has hosted more than 5,000 students from all 19 of the schools and colleges of optometry throughout North America. The Vision Care Institute™ also has locations in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Italy, Czech Republic, and the United Arab Emirates. It offers eye care specialists around the world an opportunity to learn of new developments in the field under the leadership of top contact lens specialists. To date, more than 30,000 eye care professionals around the world have attended The Vision Care Institute™. For more information, please visit


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