This week National Eye Health Week shines a light on the importance of regular sight checks. Dr Susan Blakeney, clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, says having regular eye examinations should form part of everyone’s health routine.
Our vision is one of the things most precious to us – indeed, a recent survey from the College of Optometrists found that nearly three quarters (74%) of people in Cardiff value their eyesight above all other senses.
Yet, despite this, many people are living with poor vision or, worse still, putting their sight at risk by failing to go for regular eye checks. The research also found that 19% of people admit leaving it over a month and in some cases (17%) over a year after they notice their eyesight deteriorate before they seek help.
These findings are a cause for concern as some conditions are more effectively treated if they are caught early, so it is important not to ignore deterioration in your vision. Even if you are not having problems with your sight, most people should have their eyes examined by an optometrist every two years but this could vary depending on your age and family or medical history – an optometrist will be able to provide advice on this.
Regular sight checks are important for two reasons, firstly because having your vision corrected can improve the quality of day to day life, but secondly and perhaps more importantly regular sight tests can mean early detection of conditions such as cataract, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration which could lead to sight loss. An optometrist may also be able to spot the signs of some broader health conditions with symptoms that affect the eyes, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
If you notice any changes, such as straight lines appearing wavy, ‘missing’ patches or blurry vision, then you should book yourself in for a sight test as soon as possible. Regular eye examinations should form part of everyone’s health routine, after all looking after your eyes is just as important as looking after the rest of your body.