Getting eye tests back in focus

Great to see the focus this week – puns intended! – on what we can all do to look after our eyes.

For us as opticians and optometrists, every week is important in doing all we can to maintain good sight. But National Eye Health Week (NEHW), to September 26, is a way to promote to all the importance of good eye health and the need for regular testing.

An eye test is about more than just checking whether a person’s vision needs correcting with glasses or contact lenses.

It’s also a check on the health of the eyes. Many sight-related conditions can be successfully treated, if found early.

Woman having eye test

A regular eye test can catch potentially serious problems early

And what people often don’t realise is that a sight test can also detect other health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Half of sight loss is avoidable. Yet research conducted for NEHW revealed a lack of awareness when it comes to ‘red flag’ symptoms linked to sight threatening eye conditions.

Five million tests postponed

43% were unaware that seeing flashes or floaters in your vision could be a warning sign for retinal detachment.

Retinal tears are often a precursor to a retina detaching. They can be detected early during routine eye tests and then monitored and treated before eyesight is affected.

According to Vision Matters, organisers of NEHW, incidences of retinal detachment have grown significantly over recent years because of factors such as an ageing population, increasing short-sightedness and rising diabetes numbers.

Most people should have an eye test once every two years. It was estimated this time last year that five million eye tests had been postponed because of the pandemic.

It’s understandable – and another sad side effect of Covid-19 – that people have found it harder to get a regular test. But the good news is that we are back fully open and helping people every day.

As you can read elsewhere on this website, we’re made lots of changes to our practice to make it as Covid-secure as possible. For anyone with concerns about that we’d urge you to give us a call rather than further delay a test.