As Specsavers stores across Nottinghamshire prepare to raise awareness for National Eye Health Week, a report from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Specsavers has revealed worrying localised trends in the region that are contributing to the £28billion per year cost to the UK economy due to sight loss.
Nottingham in focus
The State of the Nation: Eye Health 2016 report which was unveiled at the House of Lords provides a comprehensive insight into the health of the nation’s eyes in recent years.
It comes as part of a £3 million multi-media public health awareness campaign by the RNIB and Specsavers to transform eye health and reduce preventable sight loss.
The report is supported by an independent YouGov poll* of 10,000 UK residents and its findings have highlighted a number of alarming trends in the East Midlands region. Figures show that 28% of the East Midlands population have not had an eye examination in the last two years, while 2% have never had one.
The findings from the report also show that 52% of those that have not been tested in the last two years are self diagnosing and think that they don’t need a routine eye check, while 23% cannot find the time to factor a test into their schedule.
A routine check
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.
‘Having regular eye tests is a really important part of any routine health checks,’ explained Nottingham store director, Simon Dunn. ‘We test the eyes to see how they are functioning while having the opportunity to monitor for any other health issues, including common conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as minor eye conditions including red eye, dry eye, watering eye, blepharitis and floaters in the vision.’
‘The trend of self-diagnosis that the report has picked up on is particularly worrying,’ said Simon. ‘The fact that people in the area don’t think they need to worry about their eye health until their vision gets blurred is a common, and dangerous, misconception.
‘Take diabetes – we know that it can lead to devastating complications, including blindness, if not diagnosed in time or managed effectively. We’ve also seen cases where the patient has waited until their day-to-day life has become affected by, for example, terrible headaches which we then find to be caused by a tumour.
‘Having regular, up-to-date records helps us to track changes in your eyes and more often than not means that conditions can be picked up as early as possible to limit or reverse damage.’
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.
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.
Visit the experts
Sight tests at Specsavers in Nottingham are friendly, efficient and jargon-free with highly trained experts on hand to provide a high level of care and attention. You will only ever be seen by a qualified professional, whose aim is to find you the best solution to your individual needs.
Throughout National Eye Health Week, stores across Nottinghamshire will be focusing on providing expert advice and education to help people understand the importance of maintaining good eye health.