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Give your vision an MOT this National Eye Health Week

This National Eye Health Week (23-29 September) we are encouraging Brits to do a vision MOT to check their eyes are in healthy working order.

Every day 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK, with half of all sight loss being avoidable. Below is a guide to seven eye conditions and their symptoms that can be used as a symptom checker over National Eye Health Week.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

One of the most serious eye disorders that we are raising awareness of is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). If left untreated it can lead to blindness. The first symptoms of AMD is blurred vision which eventually leads to haziness in the middle or centre of your vision. It is very important that if you are displaying symptoms of AMD to go for an eye test immediately.

Most cataracts are related to ageing where the lens develops cloudy patches. One symptom is seeing halos around bright lights like headlights, street lights etc. At Optical Express we undertake private cataract surgery utilising modern-day premium Intraocular lenses (IOLs) and affording our Ophthalmic Surgeons and Patients the benefit of state-of-the-art advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies.

Noticing rainbow-coloured circles around lights and experiencing eye pain? This might be a sign of glaucoma, an eye disorder that causes damage to the optic nerve and can even cause sight loss if not caught early.

Stephen Hannan, Clinical Services Director at Optical Express, said: “It is vital that Brits look after their vision and are aware of how an eye examination can uncover if they have any conditions that need to be investigated further.

“This guide illustrates the common eye conditions that can be spotted early and treated. As always, we are encouraging the public to make sure they are attending regular eye tests, as not only is it vital for the health of your eyes but can also flag up any other conditions including diabetes.

Long vs Short Sight

Wondering if you need glasses? Glasses can correct short-sightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism, all of which blur vision, but which one are you? Patients who are short-sighted have difficulty with their distance vision though can generally see to read at close.  The level of short-sightedness derives the distance at which close objects can be seen clear.  Patients who are long sighted generally have near and intermediate visual difficulties and have to strain to see clearly, while astigmatism can cause blurry, distorted or fuzzy vision. 

Double Vision

Do you frequently see two images instead of one? Or do the images appear to overlap each other? This could be a sign of double vision which can affect one eye or both eyes. If you want to figure out which eye it is affecting, then simply cover one eye at a time and see if the double vision disappears. A member of the public that has double vision symptoms should seek the opinion of an eye care professional such as an Optometrist within twenty-four hours of the symptoms starting.  A series of tests performed by an Optometrist can identify the cause.  If this is for example due to an eye muscle shortfall eye exercises may be recommended. Some General Health conditions can cause double vision and hence an eye examination within a short space of time of the symptoms presenting is important.

Colour Blindness

Affecting three million people in the UK, colour blindness is a condition where people struggle to distinguish the differences between reds, oranges, yellows, browns and greens. Many celebrities are colour blind, including Keanu Reeves, Eddie Redmayne, Elton John and Meatloaf. Amazingly, Mark Zuckerberg said that he even chose Facebook’s blue logo because it was easier to distinguish. Colour-blindness can be diagnosed by a simple Ishihara plate test. If you can’t spot who’s who in these images, you might need a colour blindness test.

“At Optical Express we recommend the best way to maintain a healthy vision is by attending regular eye tests at least once every two years, having a balanced diet and reducing smoking and alcohol intake.  For those with general or eye health conditions, those that are young or those that are in their later years a more frequent eye examination will be of benefit.”

If you are displaying any of the above symptoms or have concerns about your vision then we recommend that you attend an eye test immediately at your nearest Optical Express clinic.

Contact Lenses – Safety and the Environment

Finally, one last bit of advice for anyone who wears contact lenses. Remember there are risks associated with their use.  You need to be extremely careful to reduce the risk of developing eye problems. If you don’t like wearing glasses why not consider laser eye surgery?  The risk of developing a sight-threatening eye infection when wearing daily contact lenses is four times greater per year of wear than with LASIK eye surgery.  The corresponding risk with extended wear lenses is twenty times greater through lens wear than LASIK. [2] Many people are unaware of the harmful impact contact lens wear has on our environment.  A recent survey led by Optical Express found that over 750 million contact lenses are being flushed down the drain or end up in landfill every year in the UK alone.   When this happens, contact lenses begin to contribute to the well-known micro-plastics problem which is causing irreversible harm to our marine life.  Refractive surgery can be considered safer, more cost-effective in the long term and more environmentally friendly than wearing contact lenses. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of any of these conditions or have any vision concerns, then please book an eye test at your local Optical Express.

[1] RNIB

[2] Infectious Keratitis after Laser Vision Correction: Incidence and Risk Factors (2017)




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