Glasses and Contact Lenses

What share of each European country’s population wears glasses or contact lenses?


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Map of the people in Europe that wear glasses or contact lenses.

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On this map we can see the percentage of the population (aged 15+) that uses any vision aids. These can be glasses, reading glasses, contact lenses or even laser surgery. For the vast majority, it will concern glasses or contact lenses.

In most of Europe, the majority of the population needs to use vision aids, but it’s especially high in north and western Europe. France has the highest rate, where 69.3% of the population uses vision aids. The lowest rate can be found in Romania, where only 29.6 percent uses vision aids.

Now, you might be wondering, there could also be people that need to use vision aids, but don’t. Either because they don’t want to or because they can’t afford it or for other reasons. Could it be that Romania is so low because a lot of people that need vision correction, don’t use any vision aids? Fortunately, this dataset does have numbers for that too. The percentage of the population that has vision difficulty, but doesn’t use any correction, is below 5% in most countries, but can get as high as 17.3% (Latvia).

So, what happens if we take those people into account? The truth is, not a whole lot. The dark blue countries would still be at the top and Romania and Turkey would still be at the bottom. The number in Turkey would be 48.3% and in Romania 36.2%, still the lowest in Europe. The only countries that see a significant change in ranking are Latvia (55.9%), Portugal (68.7%) and Slovenia (68.8%).

Data for this map comes from Eurostat. A while back I did a similar map about the share of the population that wears eye spectacles. The data for that map came from a different source. This new map includes both eye spectacles and contact lenses. I’ve been looking for this data for quite some time now. I’m glad I’ve been able to find it and share this map with you.

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