Age and vision: making life over 60 clearer
It's a well known fact that as we age, our bodies become more susceptible to certain problems, particularly our eyes and ears. Uan Gohil, store director at Specsavers in the Intu Centre, Derby, provides advice on how to protect against vision and hearing loss.
Keeping on top of testing
When it comes to maintaining healthy eyes, there is nothing more important than having regular eye examinations. At Specsavers, we recommend everyone has their eyes tested at least every two years. Not only does this help to keep vision in check and glasses or contact lens prescriptions up to date, it also provides a good opportunity to spot any other health issues, including common age-related conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, high blood pressure and diabetes, and minor eye conditions including red eye, dry eye, watering eye, blepharitis and floaters in the vision.
Glaucoma - the general term used to describe damage to the optic nerve - is one particular condition that adults can become prone to as they get older and is often caused by increased pressure in the eye. One of the main causes of preventable blindness in the UK, it can reduce a person’s eyesight by up to 40 percent before they even notice something is wrong. This sounds worrying, especially as sufferers may only recognise there is a problem at an advanced stage, but regular eye checkups can ensure any abnormalities are spotted immediately.
‘We want to make people aware that if they are aged over 40 or have a family history of glaucoma then they are at an increased risk of developing the disease and should have regular eye examinations,’ explained Uan. ‘Knowing this, we can monitor your eyes over time, and look out for any indicators of change.’
Another condition which can lead to devastating complications, including blindness, if not diagnosed in time or managed effectively is diabetes. Unfortunately, sufferers can remain undiagnosed for up to 10 years, meaning 50% of people will have developed a complication by the time the condition is spotted.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the UK’s working-age population. People with diabetes are 10 to 20 times more likely to go blind than someone without the condition, due to a form of optical damage known as diabetic retinopathy. However, if retinopathy is detected early through an eye examination and treated, blindness can be prevented in 90% of cases. This is another reason why Specsavers recommends an eye examination every two years.
Specsavers in Derby is one of the only opticians in the region to use optical coherence tomography, or OCT, as a standard part of our sight tests. The technique, which in effect is a 3D camera that allows the optician to view a high resolution image of every facet of the eye, can pick up conditions and abnormalities that are otherwise very hard, or even impossible, to detect through other techniques.
‘OCT is entirely non-invasive, but at the same time allows the optician to clearly identify and examine each layer of the eye,’ said Uan. ‘This technology is widely regarded to be the most valuable advance in optical diagnostic imaging in over 50 years, so we really are talking about cutting-edge technology!’
Tailored to you
Specsavers are dedicated to making eyecare more accessible to the over 60s with some exclusive offers and services.
‘We know that everyone’s eyes age differently, so we have developed an extensive range of varifocal lenses which can be tailored to your individual needs,’ continued Uan. ‘Varifocals combine three different prescriptions in one clear lens, allowing you to see comfortably at all distances. As we get older, the crystalline lens at the front of our eye loses elasticity. This makes it harder to focus on things close up, such as reading, and the eye also struggles to focus quickly between near and distant objects - varifocals can solve this problem.’
You can take advantage of the current offer at Specsavers when you buy a pair of glasses from our £69 range or above, you’ll get 25% off frames, lenses and any extra options you choose.
We have expert frame stylists in every store to ensure you get the glasses that suit your style. They will take into account your face shape and lifestyle to determine which frame will work for you and will help you pick the perfect frames, whether you want single-vision lenses, bifocals or varifocals. All our glasses include standard lenses and scratch-resistant treatment in the price.
If you’re unable to visit the store unaccompanied due to physical or mental disability, you can use the Specsavers Healthcall service, which provides tailored eyecare at home, simply by calling your nearest store to request the service.
Unlike sight loss, it is often a very gradual process and can happen over a number of years, so people often don’t realise their hearing is getting worse. Occurring naturally with age, or as a result of too much loud noise over time, hearing loss affects one in six people in the UK.
Hearing loss can affect every aspect of a person’s life and often makes people feel quite isolated. Most people know that it’s important to get their eyes examined regularly as part of a full health check, but fewer people realise the importance of a simple hearing check.
Having the volume on the TV or radio turned up high or regularly asking people to repeat themselves are common signs that someone might have hearing loss. In fact, because hearing tends to deteriorate gradually over time, friends and family will often notice the signs before you do!
As well as offering hearing tests with a hearing care professional, Specsavers also offers the latest high-tech hearing aids from world leading manufacturers and free aftercare for as long as you need it.
If you’re not sure whether you have a hearing problem, we can carry out a three-minute hearing check as a quick and easy way to find out. It’s free and you don’t need an appointment. If the audiologist thinks you would benefit from a full hearing test, that’s free too and you’ll be able to book an appointment for a time that suits you.