It’s Save Our Sight Month
Visique Naylor Palmer Optometrist Brian Naylor says there’s more to Optometry than a new pair of glasses.
‘‘It’s about ensuring the health and well-being of your eyes.’’
Visiting the Optometrist does not mean that you will require a new pair of glasses and, even if you can see clearly or find things a little blurry, you should have a 9-step comprehensive eye exam regularly.
It will take 30 to 40 minutes with your Optometrist and helps to ensure that you can stay focused on the things that are important in your life.
Save Our Sight Month has been an annual event since 2002 when New Zealand’s optometrists took note of the fact that 20 per cent of the people accessing services for the blind had lost their sight from preventable causes. According to the World Health Organisation, 75 per cent of the world’s blindness is preventable. NZAO Optometrists want to ensure that those who can avoid blindness do so by ensuring their eye health is a priority.
For eye conditions that result in blindness, early detection can lead to better diagnosis, treatment and management. The best way to find them earlier is by having regular comprehensive eye examinations.
Optometrists are registered health practitioners just like GPs, only they work exclusively with eyes.
Diabetes, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and Cataract are the the main causes of impaired vision and all are increasing as the age of our population increases. There are also a number of other diseases which may arise in the brain or other parts of the body which affect vision, and these may happen to young and old alike. Ocular melanoma or tumours near the optic nerves may be relatively uncommon, but they do happen, and if they occur then you want to find them early.
Brian Naylor says even people who have perfect vision as a child or young adult can find their eyesight and eye health changes as they get older. People with gradual loss or change in vision can be most at risk because they simply do not realise what is happening to their eyes. People who do not have comprehensive eye exams at regular intervals may have undetected eye conditions that are slowly robbing them of sight – some changes may be irreversible.
Risk factors for eye disease to keep in mind
Age Smoking High cholesterol Vascular disease Having immediate family members who have AMD
Women appear to be at greater risk than men.
Having a parent, brother or sister with glaucoma Being over 60 years old Being of a specific race: for primary open angle glaucoma being a African American; for angle closure being Inuit or Chinese
Having certain medical conditions: high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, or a history of migraine
Taking steroids over a prolonged period A history of eye injury Injuries that have involved sudden blood loss
Being myopic (short sighted) for primary open angle glaucoma; and being hyperopic (long sighted) for angle closure glaucoma.
Having diabetes Smoking Frequent exposure to UV
Regular comprehensive eye exams are vital.