We get it, there’s no judgement here. We understand that eye checks can easily become bottom priority in your busy lives, especially as most changes that happen within the eye can have very little symptoms or come on so gradually you barely notice them at all.
This week is National Eye Health Week – a great excuse for us to completely geek out about the wonders of our sight. We want all our customers to not only look amazing in our frames but their sight to be as crystal clear as possible. Of course, amazing lenses and an accurate prescription are probably the key to achieving great vision but what about underneath all that? How can we make sure that our eyes are as healthy as possible?
Every week, we spend time booking in you lovely bunch of people for your regular sight test appointments. Occasionally though, you may decide you’d rather wait another twelve months as you’ve not noticed any change in your vision. Don’t get me wrong you could be right. You could come in to the practice and we find the exact prescription as two years ago, your macular and retina could be gorgeous and healthy, and you could walk out the practice knowing that your eyes are in great condition. Unfortunately though, without coming in we cannot be sure that is the case.
Every six minutes, someone in the UK starts to lose their sight.
We could discover that you’re one of the estimated 600,000 people in the UK who suffer from some sort of macular degeneration, the leading cause of visual impairment. Or you could be a sufferer of diabetes, who’s developed diabetic retinopathy from consistent high blood sugar, which if caught late or left untreated can cause significant sight problems. The issue with problems like this is that the damage often begins before you would experience any symptoms, early detection and treatment are key here.
Many people only book in for an eye appointment when they initially notice that their vision is giving them problems, or their eye is red or painful. Firstly, I’d like to say that any sudden loss of vision, pain, dark spots (floaters) or flashes need to be seen to as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours, with us or at the hospital. These symptoms -although can be nothing- can be something as serious as a retinal tear which if ignored could cause complete loss of vision.
With the rise of amazing technology, such as Optomap and Optical Coherence Tomography, which allow us to see in huge detail the retina, macular and beneath the surface of the back of the eye. The number of visual defects, eye diseases and even general health problems we’re able to spot from just a routine eye exam is incredible. Even better, new technology allows us to detect things much earlier than we’ve ever been able to, meaning many problems can be treated or prevented developing further before you’ve ever had to experience the symptoms.
Don’t worry, we’re not trying to scare you into booking in. In all likelihood you’ll come in for your routine appointment and the most we’ll find is a change in prescription.
When it comes to your vision is it really worth taking the risk?
For most people, its recommended to have a sight test every two years. If you’re struggling to pay for your eye appointments the NHS will cover the expense in certain circumstances.
NHS reasons – You are…
- Under 19 and in full time education.
- Over 60.
- In receipt of tax credits, ESA, jobseekers, Pension credit or have a HC2 certificate.
- A sufferer of glaucoma or diabetes.
- Somebody with a family history of glaucoma and are over 40.
- Somebody with a complex prescription.
This includes a forty minute appointment at Broadhursts.
We often get asked why our sight tests are longer then other opticians. I posed this question to Mr Broadhurst our director and practicing optometrist, “We’ve always allocated forty minutes for our appointments. I like to have enough time to build up a relationship with our clients and to fully understand their ocular health history and their lifestyle needs. I’m happy after forty minutes that I’ve done a thorough check of not only their prescription but the health of their eye and explored any issues they may have with their sight. I would hate our clients to feel that their eye exam is rushed or them to leave with unanswered questions.”
Every year on National Eye Health week we push the importance of looking after your sight. Last year we handed out kale to our customers as a superfood for the macular. Who knows what we’ll do this year.