This week, Specsavers are getting behind National Eye Health Week to transform the nation’s eye health through education, awareness and action; to reverse these worrying eye health trends that are putting unnecessary pressure on the health service and placing a massive burden on the public purse.
Every day during the week will have a special focus to cover each aspect of eye health.
Monday: General eye health
At Specsavers, we recommend that you should have an eye examination every two years, or more regularly if advised by your optometrist. A comprehensive sight test includes checking the health of the inner and outer parts of the eye, so even if you're happy with your vision it's worth having a regular check-up. Eyes can be affected by a number of conditions which may be picked up early through a sight test, giving it less chance of affecting your vision.
As well as having regular eye tests, there are other simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes, including eating right and keeping at a healthy weight, wearing protective eyewear when needed and shades in sunlight, not smoking, being responsible at work or when looking at screens and being aware of your family’s eye history.
Tuesday: Children’s eye health
There are still many questions about how much and how far infants can see, but what's clear is that the development of the eyes doesn't finish until the child is several years old. When your child is three or four, if they have difficulty recognising shapes, colours or showing no interest in pictures in storybooks, it may be a sign that they have a problem with their sight. More than 80% of what children learn is through their vision, so regular sight check-ups are a vital part of protecting your child's health.
At Specsavers, we have special tests that can be used with infants and preschool children who cannot read. If you've got no urgent concerns, it might be better to wait until your child is a little older - say around three and a half years old - before taking them for their first full eye examination. Even if your child's vision seems good, it's worth taking them for a full sight test when they reach school age, just to make sure there aren't any issues with their vision that could affect their early school years.
Wednesday: Diabetic retinopathy
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the UK’s working-age population. 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.
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.
Thursday: Sight after sixty
As we get older, we become more prone to certain sight conditions as our eyes go through natural changes – making eye tests an even more important health-check to spot and treat any issues early. Common age-related conditions include glaucoma, cataracts, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Fr-eye-day: Fundraising day
To find out details of fundraising activities at your nearest store, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/stores.
Saturday: Nutrition and the eye
The old wives tale goes that carrots make you see in the dark, and in fact a diet high in fruit and vegetables – especially greens like spinach and kale – is important for maintaining healthy eyes, as well as Omega-3 found in oily fish. Obesity or being overweight increases the risk of developing diabetes and other related conditions, which can lead to eye conditions such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma
Sunday: Smoking and eye loss
Traditional tobacco smokers remain most at risk of damaging their eyes, with double the chances of developing an eye condition known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), while research indicates that smoke from e-cigarettes can cause eye irritation such as dry eye. Smoking tobacco can also worsen other eye complaints, including diabetic retinopathy.
For more information, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/eye-health/rnib.