We all live exceptionally busy lives and for many of us, it can be difficult to find the time for an eye examination, but Specsavers Penge store director Bijal Sakaria explains the importance of having regular sight checks to help detect conditions such as Glaucoma.
A leading cause of preventable blindness
Bijal said: ‘Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in the UK and can reduce a person’s eyesight by up to 40 per cent before the sufferer even realises there is a problem. One of the main signs of glaucoma is loss of peripheral vision.
‘Glaucoma is the general term used to describe damage to the optic nerve, most commonly caused by increased pressure in the eye when fluid within the eye, called aqueous humour, is unable to drain away properly.’
It has been revealed that more than 80 per cent* of drivers aged between 40-54 felt that their lives would change dramatically if they could no longer drive, yet nearly one in three had failed to have an eye test during the recommended two year period.
Advice from an expert
Bijal continued: ‘If detected early and treated, glaucoma patients can carry on driving for many years and avoid the life-changing impact of losing their license. With early detection and compliance with treatment, glaucoma need not mean the end of the road for drivers.
‘As well as those over 40 running an increased risk of developing glaucoma, it is also a hereditary condition. Other risk factors include short-sightedness, if people are of Afro-Caribbean descent, or have other medical conditions such as diabetes, poor circulation, migraine headaches or past eye injuries.
‘Drivers are not just accountable for themselves. Every time you get behind the wheel you are responsible for the safety of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Glaucoma may sound frightening but it is treatable and can be detected early with regular eye examinations. It’s very common to assume there is nothing wrong with your eyesight if you think you can see well, but an eye check can detect much more than your level of sight so I would urge everyone to take care of their eye health this winter.’
*ICM Research conducted a survey in July 2011 for the International Glaucoma Association (IGA), the charity for people with glaucoma.