This week is National Eye Health Week — an event designed to educate about the importance of having regular sight tests. A new study commissioned for the week reveals more than 40 per cent of us fail to go for regular sight tests, despite eye examinations being an essential eye health check. Not only can sight tests detect common eye conditions, such as glaucoma, before they cause irreversible vision loss they can also uncover signs of general health problems including diabetes, hypertension, an overactive thyroid and even brain tumours.

Getting your sight tested is easy — there are qualified optometrists on almost every high street; the test takes around 30 minutes and for many it is free. More than 30 million people in the UK are entitled to free sight tests and vision correction vouchers, paid for by the NHS, and millions more are entitled to tests and prescription eyewear paid for by their employer.
 

Eye health - double the problem

It has never been more important to have regular sight tests, as unhealthy lifestyles and an ageing population fuel a dramatic rise in the number of people living with sight loss – forecasters predict numbers will double by 2030 to four million.

Half of this sight loss is avoidable and there are some easy ways that we can all give our vision a boost through exercise, a balanced diet and protecting eyes from the sun by using photochromic lenses or CE- marked sunglasses.


Lifestyle changes

Watching your weight, lowering your alcohol consumption and not smoking can also make a significant difference to your eye health. For those whose sight loss is unavoidable, there are some important medical advances on the horizon. Fight for Sight is funding research into stem cell therapy, that it hopes could ‘cure’ glaucoma and other dis- eases of the optic nerve whilst the London Project is leading the way in finding a remedy for AMD — the UK’s leading cause of blindness.

For more information about caring for your eyes go to www.visionmatters.org.uk or visit your local optician.