National Eye Health Week
Eye health is extremely important to all of us and is often taken for granted. A survey in 2014, conducted by the College of Optometrists discovered although 68% of people thought their eyesight was their most important sense, an incredible “61% of people would put up with bad eyesight despite it having a detrimental effect on their life.”
What is the aim of National Eye Health Week
National Eye Health Week (NEHW) aims to educate people on how best to look after their eyes, and get people to have more regular checks. This is because ultimately, once your eyesight is gone it’s extremely hard to get back.
National Eye Health Week was created by Vision Matters and this will be the seventh year it has run, taking place the week of the 18th to the 24th September 2016. Again, this year, eye care charities, eye care organisations and healthcare professionals up and down the UK will unite to emphasise the importance of looking after your eyes and the benefit of having regular eye tests.
People at risk of eye disease
The NHS have outlined high-risk groups, who have an increased chance of suffering from eye diseases, and therefore it is more important for the following to have regular eyesight checks:
- above 60 years old
- from certain ethnic groups – for example, people from African-Caribbean communities are at greater risk of developing glaucoma and diabetes, and people from south Asian communities are at a greater risk of developing diabetes; diabetic retinopathy, where the retina becomes damaged, is a common complication of diabetes
- someone with a learning disability
- from a family with a history of eye disease
Tips for good eye health
It is recommended by Vision Express that everyone should be having an eye test every 2 years as a matter of course, even if you are not having problems with your eyes. However, it may need to be more frequent depending on your age and medical history.
You can improve your eye health by eating well, stopping smoking and wearing your sunglasses when the sun is bright
Vision matters also add that “on top of getting your sight check there are many lifestyle changes you can make to help maintain healthy eyes. They recommend that you eat well, don’t smoke and wear your sunglasses when the sun is bright.”
Facts and tips on Eye health
- 8 million people in the UK are living with sight loss. For 53% of these, a simple sight test and new glasses could really help
- Around 360,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted in the UK, who have severe and irreversible sight loss.
- Sight loss affects people of all ages but especially older people. 1 in 5 people aged 75 and 1 in 2 aged 90 and over are living with sight loss.
- There are over 25,000 blind and partially sighted children in the UK aged 0-16. As many as half of these children may have other disabilities.
- There is a link between sight loss and reduced wellbeing. Over one-third of older people with sight loss are also living with depression.
- Two-thirds of registered blind and partially sighted people of working age are not in paid employment.
- The number of people in the UK with sight loss is set to increase in line with population aging: by 2050 the number of people with sight loss in the UK could be nearly four million.
- A sight test can detect early signs of conditions like glaucoma, which can be treated if found soon enough
- During a sight test, other health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure may be detected